The National Weather Service Office in Missoula is reporting that the snowpack in the mountains of western and northwestern Montana has benefited from the early spate of winter weather.

Meteorologist Trent Smith provides these details.

“It has been a fairly early winter for us here in the northern Rockies,” Smith began. “Looking at the snowpack, we already do have a pretty good amount on the ground. The Bitterroots and the Sapphires at about 125 percent and then the closer you get to the Continental Divide for the northern Rockies, we’re getting about 150 percent of normal for this time of the year, and the early snow has been quite significant.”

Smith said the closer to the Canadian border, there is less snow on the ground.

“Up in extreme northwest Montana along Lookout Pass up to the Yaak area, we’re only looking at about 75 to 80 percent of the normal snowpack for this time of year,” he said. “On the other side of the Continental Divide, near Browning, Shelby and Great Falls, down into the Billings area, they’re looking at between 150 to over 300 percent of normal snow for this time of the year. Our snow is right along the Continental Divide, while the farther west you go it becomes drier.”

Smith said we will have some smaller winter systems moving through western Montana in the next few days.

“There’s a good little system moving through northwest Montana as we speak,” he said. “We’re getting reports of moderate snow from Eureka and Libby down into Sandpoint, Idaho causing a couple of inches of snow in that area. Then, we’ll have a few days of dryness and then another system coming through early next week.”

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