The Missoula, Montana, Weather Service Office, included a rather ominous statement in its afternoon forecast discussion update for Sunday, March 31, 2019.
"Its taken all winter and part of the spring to get here, but El Nino has finally taken control of our weather pattern, effectively directing the majority of upcoming organized weather systems south of the region. The lack of consolidated jet stream energy aloft will result in each passing weather system relying upon weaker, mid-level impulses which are notoriously challenging to forecast and not all that effective in producing more than showery conditions."
If El Nino continues its grip and produces a dry Montana spring, I worry about our growing and fire seasons. All the water laying around as snow in the valleys right now will be good for groundwater systems and other segments of the hydrologic cycle that pay attention to large-scale events, but plants, trees, and dryland crops will get little benefit from the snow cover. Plants, trees, and dryland crops pay attention to the last 3-4 weeks of weather. If spring and summer rains don't come, it could be tough.
Hopefully, El Nino will fade away this spring and we won't see too many red sunrises like this one over the Bridger Mountains and the Missouri River Valley near Three Forks, Montana.
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