It has been a very wet spring here in Southwest Montana.

It feels like any time I have looked at the forecast for the last couple of months, there has been a solid chance of rain. Over the winter months, we kept track of the snowpack around Montana, and now with a couple of months of rain, I thought we should see how much water is out there.

This first map is the Water Year to Date. Total precipitation to date compared to normal. This map is just through May, it does not include a very wet June. The green areas are within 10% of normal, maybe a little lower than normal, maybe a bit higher. The Yellow in the Northwest is below average. The three blue sections are at least 10% above average. The Milk Basin is still at 128% (you might remember our snowfall totals were incredibly high in that region over the winter).

Water to date through May- National Weather service

Returning to the yellow areas on the previous map, The Flathead is sitting at 81% of the average. The rain that has been hammering the bulk of Montana, hasn’t dropped much over the Northwest corner of Montana. From January 1 to June 25, Kalispell averages around 9 inches of measurable ‘water’. To date, they sit right at 5 inches.

Missoula also checks in below average on the year. The National Weather Service shows their yearly total so far at 7.2 inches, with the average sitting at 8. So not too far off. The one that kind of surprised me as being below average was Bozeman-and again, not by much. The ‘normal’ for Bozeman is 12 inches, and so far this year they sit at 10.5. So again, low but not by much.

That is not the case for almost everyone else.

Staying in eastern Montana, the totals in Billings continue to climb. Their yearly average is 8 inches, and they are nearly 5 inches over that mark currently, (with heavy rain in the forecast). Big Timber is over 14 inches of precipitation to date, their yearly average is at 10.

Havre is over average, (6 inches) with a current mark of 7 inches. Helena is right in that same neighborhood as well.

Butte water totals, January 1- current
Butte water totals, January 1- current

In Butte, we ran past the average by a significant margin. A ‘normal’ year would see 7 inches of water to this point. As of today, we show over 10.5 inches. The record is 12.5 set in 1980.

It appears our water totals are going to increase quite a bit to close out June, as the bulk of the state is looking at significant rain to close out the month.

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