Potomac Montana was the coldest spot in the contiguous United States over the weekend, and the Missoula office of the National Weather Service took notice.

Meteorologist Jen Kitzmiller has more.

“That was 29 below zero measured at Potomac, Montana,” said Kitzmiller “And that was not only the coldest for the day, but it was also the coldest in the contiguous US that has occurred this early in the year. So it's basically that the coldest reading across the contiguous United States this early in the year.”

Kitzmiller went on to state that Missoula is far from normal when it comes to fall weather, especially the temperatures.

“We're running anywhere from 30 to 40 degrees below what our normal would be this time of year,” she said. “For instance, for today, our normal high would be 52 degrees, and we're looking like we're probably only going to have a high around 15 degrees so it's quite abnormal compared to where we should be.”

Kitzmiller explained why the temperatures are just so far below normal for late October.

“What was the source of the cold air that came in and how quickly it came in was part of it,” she said. And then on top of it, we got a good fetch of moisture that rode up and over that boundary of cold air that produced all the snow, and then when you get all that snow trapped into the valleys, it just sets up conditions that are ripe for those really strong inversions that keep the cold air basically shuttered into the valleys.”

Kitzmiller said Saturday into Sunday was one of the top 10 snowiest periods in recorded Montana weather history.


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