Posted: Jan 20, 2013 1:23 PM by Meteorologist Mike Heard
Updated: Jan 20, 2013 1:40 PM
As of January 15th, 34% of Montana is under some stage of drought according the National Drought Monitor. Just 7% of Montana is in the D3 Extreme Drought category and just under 12% is in the D2 Severe Drought category. More than 15% of Montana is in the D1 or Moderate Drought category and finally just under 13% of Montana is in the D0 or Abnormally Dry category.
The Drought Outlook released January 17th shows no drought development expected through the end of April 2013 across those portions of northern and central Montana that are currently void of drought. The drought is ongoing with some improvements across southern Montana. There are no areas in Montana that indicate the drought is expected to persist or worsen through the end the April 2013.
One reason the drought has not worsened in Montana is due to a wet and cold December. According to climatologist with the National Weather Service December 2012 was the 52nd wettest and the 52nd coldest for Montana in 118 years. The first half of January has been well above average for precipitation for Southwest, Southeast and hi-line regions.
February forecast from the National Climatic Prediction Center is calling for equal chances temperatures will be above, below or near normal over west, southwest and portions of south central Montana. North central and Eastern Montana has a 33 to 50 percent chance of below normal temperatures during February.
Spring forecast March through May shows an equal chances, or near normal conditions, for temperatures and precipitation.
Another indicator for near normal long range forecast is El Nino remains in a neutral state and should remain neutral through Spring of 2013.