Montana’s First Frost is Here, and Freezing Not Far Behind
His name is Jack. And he could be coming to your town in the next couple of mornings, whether you want to have him to visit or not.
In fact, some locations already got a taste of the coming season on Thursday morning.
It is September after all
If you're a newcomer to Montana, you might be surprised to see frost already. But actually, some higher elevation locations like Butte and Anaconda have "first frost" dates as early as mid-August. Other areas usually see frost in mid-to-late September. Generally, NWS doesn't track specific frost dates, although some sources, like the Farmer's Almanac, do list potential frost dates, often trending later than actual conditions. Many sites focus specifically on plant damage, which can happen even when temperatures only drop to 36 degrees.
Thursday morning, several locations in Western Montana got a taste of what's to come as the skies cleared. Unofficial temperatures included Seeley Lake at 33 degrees, and Philipsburg at 35, while Wisdom hit the freezing mark at only 32 and Polebridge was only showing 30. In fact, it was still just 37 on the North Fork by 9 a.m., enough to frost those huckleberry bear claws from the Polebridge Merc without any help from the baker!
More frost is expected on Friday
NWS expects frost to be widespread again Friday morning, as drier air has moved into the region. Butte, Seeley Lake, Potomac, and the Upper Blackfoot Valley over to Avon will see frost, as will the Yaak Valley in Northwest Montana. Forecasters say there's an 80% chance of more frost for the North Fork.
While the frost "shouldn't" impact areas like Missoula, the Bitterroot, Mission, and Flathead Valleys, it's still a good idea for gardeners to be ready to cover sensitive plants.
Temperatures will likely hit the mid-80s over the weekend. However, that could be the last time this year. An approaching system out of the Gulf of Alaska next week will bring temperatures back down into the low 60s, with lowering snow levels.