The National Weather Service in Billings has selected drought and the resulting wildfire activity as the top weather event for 2017. It probably comes as no surprise to residents east of the Continental Divide.
NWS Meteorologist Tom Frieders said parts of Montana are still experiencing drought. He said at this time last year most of the state was in pretty good shape.
“And that evolved to some areas getting to severe to exceptional drought conditions,” Frieders said. ”We still have about 50 % of the state--and that’s again northeast half of the state-- experiencing some type of drought.”
Some locations in 2017 had some of the driest years on record, including Glasgow with the driest year and Miles City the third driest.
Overall, temperatures were about average last year. Frieders said they were up a degree to two when the extremes of winter and summer are averaged out.
Severe weather was relatively rare last year, at least in the Billings region. Custer County did had a severe storm blow through on July 10, 2017.
The Billings forecast office only issued 31 severe thunderstorms warnings and no tornado warnings, both very low numbers.