If you ever want to show people the contrasts in Montana weather, 2022 might be one of the best examples. 

That's because the year just concluded and took us to the extremes with temperatures that soared well over a hundred degrees in mid-summer and went far below zero at Christmastime. 

And in between those extremes, the "triple dip" La Niña ocean currents were continuing to impact weather transitions in the Northern Rockies.

National Weather Service forecasters in Missoula say even with La Niña, it was a dry year too, with Missoula's total precipitation hitting 10.91" at the end of the year, short of the normal amount of around 14 inches. Yet if you were looking just at the snow, the deep dive into winter that started at the beginning of November, coupled with late spring snow, pushed the 2022 total snow nearly 53" in Missoula and almost 46" in Kalispell. 

System shock

In fact, the swings by La Niña did a couple of things, fueling a cold, wet spring that built the snowpack and delayed fire season. And then sweeping back at the end of October with what meteorologist Brian Conlan calls a "system shock." After October was the warmest on record, November was the 3rd coldest on record (since 1948) for Missoula and Butte, and the 4th coldest in Kalispell. 

Snow totals buried weather stations in Central Idaho as well in '22. Pierce Idaho led all the weather stations in the Missoula region with an astonishing 132 inches of snow for the year.

Heat hit the top

But in between the wet, snowy spring and the frigid end of the year, it was also very hot. And very dry. 

Montana dried out quick; Dennis Bragg photo
Montana dried out quick; Dennis Bragg photo

Missoula had the hottest day of the year on July 31st at 104 degrees. Orofino led the region with 106 degrees of oppressive hit on both July 29th and again on September 2nd. Kalispell topped 98 degrees, also on July 31st. 

In fact, August in Missoula was the warmest on record, along with October when we were blessed with an incredible stretch of warm, pleasant weather with endless sun and temps into the 70s. 

Other weather 2022 weather facts:

Coldest day in Missoula -19 on December 22

Coldest day in Kalispell -34 on December 22

Coldest day in Butte -40 on December 22

Missoula hit Top 10 warmest months in March, July, August, and September 

Missoula hit Top 10 coldest in April and November 

Kalispell hit Top 10 warmest in August, September, and October

Kalispell hit Top 10 coldest in April, May, November, and December

Orofino, ID had most snow of any station on a single day with 14" on January 6th

NWS Missoula issued the most severe thunderstorm warnings ever, showing the impacts of the summer heat, with 76 warnings. The previous record was 71 in 1997.

Yellowstone National Park Rebuilds After Historic Flooding

After catastrophic flooding damaged portions of Yellowstone National Park in June of 2022, major reconstruction was necessary to make the park passable again. The following are photos of the improvement projects at Old Gardiner Road and the Northeast Entrance Road. All photos are courtesy of the National Park Service, photographer Jacob W. Frank.

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