If you’ve been thinking that it’s been a long time since Missoula has any rain, you’d be right.

In fact, Meteorologist Dan Zumpf with the National Weather Service office in Missoula says we are just a few days away from setting a new record for consecutive days without measurable rainfall.

“It is really, really dry,” said Zumpf. “We are approaching record territory as far as the number of days in Missoula without receiving any measurable precipitation. We’re now at the 41 day mark and we have to get to 47 days and then we’ll be in that record territory that we don’t want to be at.”

Zumpf clarifies the term ‘measurable precipitation.

“1/100th of an inch of precipitation is measurable,” he said. “We’ve had several days since the beginning of July that we’ve had a trace here at the Missoula airport, but to have anything that’s measurable, it needs to be 1/100th or more, and for it to be what fire managers call a ‘wetting’ rain, that would sufficiently wet the ground and the fuels on the ground it would have to be 1/10th of an inch of rain. That would be a tall order for us even with this next system that’s coming through over the weekend.

Zumpf said the fact that Missoula hasn’t even had any thunderstorms is unusual, since thunderstorms could bring some moisture, but could also bring the lightning that sparked so many devastating fires in 2017.

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