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ANNUAL CLIMATIC SUMMARY FOR GREAT FALLS
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GREAT FALLS MT
1208 AM MST MON JAN 1 2001

ANNUAL WEATHER SUMMARY FOR GREAT FALLS FOR 2000.

AVERAGE TEMPERATURE..................:  44.4
DEPARTURE FROM NORMAL................:  -0.4
HIGHEST TEMPERATURE..................:  100 ON JULY 29TH AND AUGUST 9TH 
LOWEST TEMPERATURE...................:  -22 ON DECEMBER 10TH

TOTAL PRECIPITATION (INCHES).........:   9.80    ...7TH DRIEST...                     
DEPARTURE FROM NORMAL................:  -5.41
GREATEST IN 24 HOURS.................:   1.20 ON MAY 31ST 

SNOWFALL (INCHES)....................:   55.5     
DEPARTURE FROM NORMAL................:  -7.2     
GREATEST SNOWFALL IN 24 HOURS........:   6.2 ON FEBRUARY 14TH 


THE YEAR IN GREAT FALLS WILL BE REMEMBERED FOR BEING EXTREMELY DRY. 
THIS WAS THE DRIEST YEAR SINCE 1952 AND THE 7TH DRIEST ON RECORD. 9 
MONTHS HAD BELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION. ALTHOUGH THE SUMMER MONTHS WERE 
HOTTER THAN USUAL...COLDER THAN NORMAL PERIODS IN THE SPRING AND FALL 
PUT THE YEARLY AVERAGE TEMPERATURE NEAR NORMAL.

MEMORABLE WEATHER EVENTS DURING 2000 IN GREAT FALLS...

THE YEAR BEGAN WITH MILD CONDITIONS FOR THE SEASON. THE TEMPERATURE 
ONLY DIPPED BELOW ZERO FOR A COUPLE OF HOURS IN THE ENTIRE MONTH OF 
JANUARY. A RARE TASTE OF A TYPICAL GREAT FALLS WINTER BEGAN ON 
FEBRUARY 9TH AS A CANADIAN AIR MASS MOVED IN. TEMPERATURES STAYED 
BELOW FREEZING UNTIL THE 18TH. ACCUMULATING SNOW FELL FOR FIVE 
CONSECUTIVE DAYS STARTING ON THE 10TH AND CULMINATING WITH 6.2 
INCHES ON VALENTINES DAY...THE BIGGEST SNOWSTORM OF THE YEAR.

MARCH CAME IN LIKE A LAMB...AND WENT OUT LIKE A LAMB. ONLY 4.1 
INCHES OF SNOW ON THE 7TH AND 8TH GAVE THE AREA A FEEL OF WINTER. 
TEMPERATURES WERE ABOVE NORMAL FOR ALL BUT 7 DAYS DURING THE MONTH.

A TRANSITION TO A MORE NORMAL WEATHER PATTERN OCCURRED IN EARLY APRIL. 
A NORTHWEST FLOW SET UP...GIVING THE AREA NEAR NORMAL 
TEMPERATURES...BUT STORM SYSTEMS CONTINUED TO AVOID THE AREA. APRIL WAS 
THE 9TH DRIEST ON RECORD AND BY THE END OF THE MONTH THE ANNUAL DEFICIT 
WAS ALREADY APPROACHING 2 INCHES. THIS WAS ON THE HEELS OF A FAIRLY DRY 
1999...AND CONCERN ABOUT THE UPCOMING FIRE SEASON WAS ON THE RISE.

MAY IS TYPICALLY THE WETTEST MONTH IN GREAT FALLS...BUT IT QUICKLY 
BECAME A DISAPPOINTMENT IN THE PRECIPITATION DEPARTMENT AS WELL. THE 
MONTH WAS ON THE WAY TO BECOMING ONE OF THE DRIEST IN HISTORY 
ALSO...UNTIL A STORM PROVIDED THE CITY WITH 1.61 INCHES OF MELTED 
PRECIPITATION ON THE 30TH AND 31ST. THIS INCLUDED 3.4 INCHES OF SNOW 
ON THE 31ST.

TEMPERATURES WERE BELOW NORMAL IN JUNE...BUT THE DRY PATTERN 
CONTINUED IN GREAT FALLS. WHILE OTHER PARTS OF MONTANA SAW 
SIGNIFICANT RAINS FROM THUNDERSTORMS IN THE MIDDLE AND END OF THE 
MONTH...THE EAST SLOPES OF THE ROCKIES MISSED OUT.

THE FIRST WEEK OF JULY OFFERED SOME RELIEF FROM THE DROUGHT. COOLER 
TEMPERATURES ALOFT COMBINED WITH MOIST AIR AT THE SURFACE AND TOUCHED 
OFF A DAILY ROUND OF AFTERNOON THUNDERSTORMS BETWEEN THE 1ST AND THE 
9TH. ON THE 8TH...A THUNDERSTORM RIPPED THROUGH THE WEST SIDE OF THE 
CITY PRODUCING HAIL UP TO TWO INCHES IN DIAMETER.

IT THEN RETURNED TO A DRY PATTERN THAT CONTINUED THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF 
SEPTEMBER. BUT UNLIKE THE PREVIOUS MONTHS...THIS DRY SPELL WAS WORSENED 
BY ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES THAT BAKED THE SOIL. THERE WERE 13 DAYS 
IN THE 90S IN JULY AND 12 IN AUGUST. FOR THE YEAR THERE WERE 27 DAYS 
WITH A READING OF 90 OR GREATER...THE MOST IN GREAT FALLS SINCE 1988 
WHEN THERE WERE 30.

ONE OF THE HOTTEST MID-SEPTEMBER DAYS EVER RECORDED IN MONTANA 
OCCURRED ON THE 15TH...WITH GREAT FALLS RISING TO A RECORD HIGH 95 
DEGREES. BUT THEN THE HEAT WAVE CAME TO AN ABRUPT END. THE CITY 
PICKED UP ITS FIRST SNOW...1.6 INCHES...ON THE 21ST...AND RECORD 
LOWS WERE SET ON THE MORNINGS OF THE 22ND AND 23RD.

A MOIST LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM SET UP OVER WESTERN MONTANA ON OCTOBER 10TH 
AND 11TH PROVIDING EXTINGUISHING RAINS TO REMAINING WILD FIRES...AND 
DUMPING NEARLY AN INCH OF RAIN ON GREAT FALLS.

A CANADIAN AIR MASS VISITED GREAT FALLS ON NOVEMBER 4TH AFTER A COLD 
FRONT PUSHED SOUTH. THE CITY DID NOT HAVE ABOVE FREEZING TEMPERATURES 
AGAIN UNTIL THE 18TH. THIS WAS THE LONGEST PERIOD BELOW FREEZING SO 
EARLY IN THE SEASON ON RECORD. 

TEMPERATURES REBOUNDED UNTIL ANOTHER CANADIAN PLUNGE GREETED THE 
ELECTRIC CITY ON THE MORNING OF DECEMBER 9TH...KEEPING THE CITY WELL 
BELOW NORMAL FOR THE NEXT WEEK. A BRIEF SNOWSTORM...ACCOMPANIED BY HIGH 
WINDS OCCURRED ON THE 15TH...CREATING BLIZZARD CONDITIONS THAT CLOSED 
ROADS AROUND GREAT FALLS FOR A BRIEF PERIOD.

A REVIEW OF TEMPERATURE RECORDS SET OR TIED DURING 2000...

DATE     TYPE       VALUE   OLD RECORD    YEAR
MAY 1    HIGH         83        83        1897
JUL 5    LOW          40        43        1931
SEP 15   HIGH         95        92        1979
SEP 22   LOW          24        24        1934
SEP 23   LOW          16        20        1934
OCT 5    LOW          20        21        1957
OCT 6    LOW          16        21        1913
DEC 10   LOW         -22       -20        1919 1961


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