- Associated Press - Monday, March 31, 2014

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Montana’s largest city blew past its annual snowfall record Monday with 100 inches tallied so far in a winter season that forecasters said was likely to keep churning into April and beyond.

Billings has averaged about 55 inches of snow annually in records dating to 1934, National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Lester said.

The city of 105,000 people along the banks of the Yellowstone River topped that figure in early February. It broke through the 100-inch mark with a storm that started as rain Sunday until turning to heavy snow overnight.

The previous record of 98.7 inches had stood since 1997.

The nearby Beartooth Mountains also have been hit with heavy precipitation this winter, Lester said, and across Montana the snowpack is well above the normal average for many mountain ranges, according to information collected by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

That means farmers on the Northern Plains should have water for irrigation when spring arrives, but also that flood risks are up again, three years after hundreds of Montana homes in low-lying areas got swamped following another snowy, wet winter.

Some areas of the state have seen localized flooding in recent weeks, caused largely by an early runoff that was triggered by a warm spell and made worse when ice jams caused some rivers to get backed up.

Those jams are largely clear now, but the next couple of months will determine if widespread flooding should be a concern, Lester said.

“Certainly we’ve got a lot of snow up there (in the mountains) that has got to melt out. That’s going to be something we have to watch pretty closely,” he said.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide