Riding behind a herd of black Angus cattle on a quiet country road near Toston, Montana. Photo: Todd Klassy Photography.

Happy New Year! Welcome to the March 2020 Montana Drought & Climate newsletter. We hope that Montana farmers and ranchers find the information here useful. Please send us your feedback!

Here’s what you’ll find in this newsletter:

Winter 2019/2020 Update — Understanding current and past conditions aids in predicting future conditions. This section provides an overview of how this spring is progressing.

Spring Forecast — The seasonal forecast discusses predictions for temperature, precipitation, and drought, as well as the global air circulation patterns that impact growing conditions and water availability in Montana.

Reference — A helpful glossary of terms found in this newsletter.

In Brief

  • Despite an early start, winter across Montana has been warmer and drier than average.

  • However, thanks to some sizeable storms in early February snowpack in the mountains is above average.

  • The NOAA seasonal forecast for March through May is for cooler and wetter than normal conditions across eastern Montana.

Enhanced agricultural weather monitoring from the Montana Mesonet

The Montana Climate Office is always looking for ways to serve Montanan’s better, and we’ve recently developed a online new resource for getting weather information on your local area. The Montana Mesonet Dashboard delivers up-to-date weather information from Montana Mesonet stations across the state. This dashboard provides the latest data for each MT Mesonet station, and tables and graphs of data going back two weeks. Check out the dashboard at [https://climate.umt.edu/mesonet_dashboard].

The dashboard is currently under development, and we definitely want your feedback. Please email Zach Hoylman at state.climatologist@umontana.edu with any feedback or questions.

We want to hear from you!

Please send us stories, photos, feedback, and questions! Your story about how you use this information, photos of your farm or ranch, or your question could be featured in the next newsletter.

Please contact mtdrought@umontana.edu
with questions and comments, or to be added to our mailing list.

About Montana Drought & Climate
and the Montana Climate Office

Montana Drought & Climate is a USDA-funded project of the Montana Climate Office (MCO) at the W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation at the University of Montana, in collaboration with the Montana State University Extension Service. The MCO is an independent state-designated body that provides Montanans with high-quality, timely, relevant, and scientifically-based climate information and services. We strive to be a credible and expert source of information for decision makers that rely on the most current information on climate to make important decisions. It is also the role of the MCO to assist stakeholders in interpreting climate information or adapting climate products to their needs.

Production of this newsletter is supported by Water for Agriculture Challenge Area grant no. 2017-67027-26313 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and by the Montana Water Center. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Montana Water Center, or the University of Montana. Please refer to the Montana Climate Office user agreement and disclaimer at climate.umt.edu/disclaimer.

Montana Climate Office logo Montana Climate Office
Montana Forest & Conservation Experiment Station
University of Montana
32 Campus Drive
Missoula, MT 59812

P: (406) 243-6793
E: mtdrought@umontana.edu
W: https://climate.umt.edu/