Think Montana winters are bad? Or great? Maybe you think the amount of snow we get rivals our neighbors to the north in Canada, or that our holiday temperatures make you long for a nice cozy fire?

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Just like we compared driving in Missoula snow versus the snow in Seattle, let's take a look at our winters compared to those in the Midwest. I lived in Iowa for a little under two years, and experienced two winter seasons that I'd just as soon forget. But having one Montana winter under my belt and looking forward to the rest of this one, let's pit the two climates against each other and see which one comes out on top.

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Nobody Gets Off In This Town

There's an old Garth Brooks song that has largely been largely forgotten about, "Nobody Gets Off in This Town." As far back as I can remember it didn't get a big push from radio even back in Garth's heyday, but one line from it perfectly describes what living in the Midwest is like:

In the winter you freeze and in the summer you fry, utility bill's the only thing that gets high....

Credit: Google Maps
Credit: Google Maps
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Looking at this map of the United States, you see Montana on the northern edge of the Rocky Mountains, while Iowa is smack dab in the very fertile yet very flat Midwest. There's no mountains around Iowa, are there?

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Iowa? If you said "corn" you're absolutely right. Montana is known for its elk, snow, and hunting while Iowa is known for corn, pork and windstorms.

And it seems like those windstorms don't ever let up. Not in the summer when particularly disastrous windstorms called derechos can hit at any time, and not in the winter. Say you can handle the snow and the cold all you want, but incessant and unending winds compound  below freezing temperatures and discomfort like nothing else. It's not an experience I wish to live through again.

Credit: Benny Edwin
Credit: Benny Edwin
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In 2019 a winter windstorm knocked out the power at my apartment around midnight and I had to sit in my car for hours to stay warm. Ugh.

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It gets so cold there that the mighty Mississippi River freezes. No joke: I got to see it for myself:

So while we may grumble about how cold it is at varying temperatures, at least we can enjoy the splendor of the Treasure State in all seasons without worrying about the biting, frigid, bone-chilling and wildly uncomfortable midwest winds. Stay warm, Montana.

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