U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Montana
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 03-05-2011, 07:36 PM
 
307 posts, read 834,868 times
Reputation: 106

Advertisements

Greetings. I know some of these have been asked before, and I HAVE searched the treads for quite a while, but cannot get exactly what i am looking for. I appreciate any help you can give me.

I am considering moving to Montana. I have lived most recently in Southern Missouri and Northen Colorado. We cannot tolerate a severely cold climate. However, the advantages of living in Montana are wonderful and out weigh the misery of severely frigid winters. We are small town, rural, old-fashioned, and agricultural people with traditional and conservative values and standards who don't want a "big-city" life, but don't want to be far from ammenities. We want a small town to live in (2,000 to 15,000 population) but be near a larger town for other needs. And we want to live near the mountains or in, but in an agricultural area (ranching and farming). Farming mostly.

Our biggest fear is the Winter. Here in Northern Colorado winter seems to start in November and has only been sub-zero once or twice and barely at that. It snows often, but can't take it bitterly cold. We wanted to know from experienced people, which part of Montana near or in the mountains has the mildest winters? We've lived in Iowa, which was unbearable, and Southern Missouri which really wasn't bad at all. How does Montana compare with the Midwest or Northern Colorado? Sunshine is very important as well, and we have heard that there is limited sunshine in certain parts. We were also considering southern Idaho but really want to be in Montana and have so for a long time.

I have read on here that west of the Divide is milder? But define milder. I have also read that the most crwoding of people has occured west of the Divide? As well as that Billings has milder winters? I really appreciate your help, and feel free to ask any questions if you need more specifics. Thanks.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 03-05-2011, 09:59 PM
 
1,337 posts, read 1,232,198 times
Reputation: 656
Quote:
Originally Posted by countryway View Post
I have read on here that west of the Divide is milder? But define milder. I have also read that the most crwoding of people has occured west of the Divide? As well as that Billings has milder winters? I really appreciate your help, and feel free to ask any questions if you need more specifics. Thanks.
I read a while back on some town Chamber of Commerce site that Thompson Falls (I think it was that town, or thereabouts, anyway) has the warmest average temperature in the entire state (it's in the northwest part of the state). So if you want to hop on over to average-temperature.com, that'll give you an idea of what the temps are like, and whether you can deal with it. That site gives a month-by-month break-down, and all the annual averages, so may aid you in your research of various towns if temperatures are a primary criteria.

http://average-temperature.com/Stations_US_States.aspx

Thompson Falls: AVG yearly temp = 48.4 degrees Fahrenheit, which by way of example is only marginally colder than Boulder, Colorado. That's not a bad winter average at all, as far as "cooler/colder" states goes.

The average winter temperatures are also quite mild (for Montana), at 28 degrees Fahrenheit in January. A "cold" winter average in the lower-48, for comparison, is in the 15 degree range, or less.

Contrast that with Cooke City and West Yellowstone, MT, which I think are among the two coldest towns (annual average) not just in the state, but in the entire lower-48 (it beats Stanley, ID, which is often given credit as being one of the coldest).

Of course, if its the winter cold you are most concerned about, then you need to look at the winter averages, and not so much the yearly average. The two figures do not go hand-in-hand, and are only loosely correlated.

Cooke City = 33.1 degrees Fahrenheit yearly average which is rivaled only by the Mt. Washington observatory in NH which is the coldest average in the lower 48 (avg 27 degrees), rivaling lower-interior Alaska. So you may way want to stay away from Cooke City.

Last edited by FreedomThroughAnarchism; 03-05-2011 at 10:24 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-06-2011, 12:36 AM
 
Location: North Dakota
7,738 posts, read 9,033,995 times
Reputation: 11128
Billings seems to have milder winters than west of the Divide. Billings is also MUCH more welcoming of outsiders than anywhere west of the Divide except maybe Butte.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-06-2011, 02:18 PM
 
Location: NW Montana
451 posts, read 848,195 times
Reputation: 383
Quote:
Originally Posted by countryway View Post

I have read on here that west of the Divide is milder? But define milder. I have also read that the most crwoding of people has occured west of the Divide? As well as that Billings has milder winters? I really appreciate your help, and feel free to ask any questions if you need more specifics. Thanks.
Let me urge you to get a map of Montana, log on to City-Data.com, (not the Forums), then check out the entries for some target towns on either side of the Divide. I believe you'll find substantial evidence that the valleys west of the Divide, (especially Missoula and north), are significantly less extreme in temperature (during and average year) than those on the East side. Thompson Falls and Plains are in the Clark Fork Valley stretch that is referred to as the "Banana Belt", and though not quite accurate (you won't be able to grow bananas), you can grow just about everything you might want to. I don't know about the claims regarding Billings winters - never been through one.

Like you, we've lived in Southern Missouri. Also, we've lived in Wisconsin and Illinois. I'll take the climate here (Polson) over those places any day. Less humidity, fewer 95 + days in summer, fewer -0 or even below 32 days in winter, than any of the places you mention. But like I said above, do your own homework on the ranges and averages. This winter has been longer, colder and snowier than the average - BY FAR!. Most years I would have pruned my fruit trees by now - not this year! Must be the global warming... (yeah right)!

As for friendliness and acceptance - There are jerks and good folks where ever you move. You'll fit right in with whichever such group you belong.

Good luck and feel free to post us back here for more of this inhospitable treatment that those of us West of the Divide are evidently becoming famous for.


mg
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-06-2011, 05:53 PM
 
307 posts, read 834,868 times
Reputation: 106
Thanks so far! I gather then, that West of the Divide IS indeed milder in winter than east? I will check the website noted, thanks. That would be great. However, I have been told that there is a terrible influx of wealthy out-of-staters building mansions etc. similar to Colorado. We are simple small town folks that don't want to get stuck in an area that is full of mansions and condos and a California lifestyle etc. As I'm sure you would agree. That is not why we are coming to Montana, we've got plenty of that in Colorado.

So my question would be: Is what i've been told several times true? And if so, are there areas west of the Divide least struck by such changes? Like I said, we are small town old-fashioned country folk who want such an area. We were told that most of that was east of the Divide around Great Falls, and Billings etc. We would gladly be open to suggestions on such places that would suit our needs in the area West of the Divide. I have heard that Missoula is a college town and we don't want to live in that area and in that pace/style of life. Thanks for any more help anyone can offer.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-06-2011, 06:22 PM
 
Location: Billings, MT
9,536 posts, read 7,841,803 times
Reputation: 13291
I grew up in Northwestern Montana. I can't stand it there now.
Too many people.
If you like sunshine in the winter, you will not like Kalispell or the Flathead Valley. It seems to me they have more gray days there than anywhere I have ever lived, including Seattle!
It is beautiful up there, to be sure, but you can't eat scenery. Since the timber industry has died, and the aluminum plant closed, there isn't much for jobs. I wonder how long they can go on, selling land, groceries, clothing, cars, and fast food to each other.
I liked Great Falls. The weather wasn't bad, not too many bitterly cold days.
Billings is also nice, but this winter has set quite a few records for lowest high temperature, and lowest low temperature, and snowfall.Right now it is 16.2 degrees, with a 9 MPH wind out of the North North East, for a wind chill of 0 degrees. It has been snowing lightly all day.
In the Great Falls area, look at Stanford, Mocassin, Ulm, Craig, Vaughn, Choteau, Conrad, Belt, Geyser, and other small towns. The big problem in all such places will be jobs. There usually aren't many, and with gas prices the way they are, commuting to Great Falls might not be a real great idea!
You might want to check out the Job Service website to see what jobs are available in the state that will meet your needs, then check the map to see if you want to live where the jobs are.
Good luck.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-06-2011, 08:35 PM
 
Location: Approximately 50 miles from Missoula MT/38 yrs full time after 4 yrs part time
2,295 posts, read 3,342,153 times
Reputation: 4829
Quote:
Originally Posted by countryway View Post
Greetings. I know some of these have been asked before, and I HAVE searched the treads for quite a while, but cannot get exactly what i am looking for. I appreciate any help you can give me.

I am considering moving to Montana. I have lived most recently in Southern Missouri and Northen Colorado. We cannot tolerate a severely cold climate. However, the advantages of living in Montana are wonderful and out weigh the misery of severely frigid winters. We are small town, rural, old-fashioned, and agricultural people with traditional and conservative values and standards who don't want a "big-city" life, but don't want to be far from ammenities. We want a small town to live in (2,000 to 15,000 population) but be near a larger town for other needs. And we want to live near the mountains or in, but in an agricultural area (ranching and farming). Farming mostly.

Our biggest fear is the Winter. Here in Northern Colorado winter seems to start in November and has only been sub-zero once or twice and barely at that. It snows often, but can't take it bitterly cold. We wanted to know from experienced people, which part of Montana near or in the mountains has the mildest winters? We've lived in Iowa, which was unbearable, and Southern Missouri which really wasn't bad at all. How does Montana compare with the Midwest or Northern Colorado? Sunshine is very important as well, and we have heard that there is limited sunshine in certain parts. We were also considering southern Idaho but really want to be in Montana and have so for a long time.

I have read on here that west of the Divide is milder? But define milder. I have also read that the most crwoding of people has occured west of the Divide? As well as that Billings has milder winters? I really appreciate your help, and feel free to ask any questions if you need more specifics. Thanks.
..............I am very familiar with the Ft Collins (Larimer county) area and the area around Boulder in Boulder county.....lived there for over 15 years, and my daughter went to college at CO State in Ft Collins and lived there for several years.

In general, the winters are more severe in much of MT compared to Ft Collins. Also west of the divide MT gets about 25% less sunny or partly sunny days than FC area. Also East of the divide it is a hell-of-a-lot colder in the winter (and much more windy) than the Ft collins area.

Also bear in mind that Ft Collins has an elevation of slightly more than 5000',
while most farm-land elevations in MT will range from 2000 to 3000'. Depending on where you are in the state (MT) this could be a 'positive' or a 'negative'.

As has been said many, many times before in answer to inquiries like yours:......VISIT< VISIT, VISIT........asmany times as you can BEFORE MOVING!!!!!

The avg "growing season" for many areas of the state.. (including the Bitterroot Valley--which is commonly called the "Banana Belt" of MT)..
is 88 to 91 days!!! Something to consider!!!........................Don't forget: VISIT, VISIT, VISIT...both summer and winter

Last edited by Montana Griz; 03-06-2011 at 08:40 PM.. Reason: additional info on growing season...............
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-07-2011, 10:00 AM
 
213 posts, read 598,428 times
Reputation: 180
I have also heard that Thompson Falls is one of the milder towns; the Bitterroot Valley (Hamilton) also tends to be a bit milder than average.

Some areas that I know of for sure tend to be harsher in temperature are Butte and Seeley Lake. When comparing average temperatures you'll also want to look how windy places are. I've found that personally I can easily handle some pretty cold temperatures but when the wind starts blowing it's a completely different story!

I also agree that you should definitely visit! I haven't spent a lot of winter time in Ft. Collins, but I've spent plenty in Denver and find that Denver has a lot more sun, and far more mild streaks throughout the winter than just about anywhere in Western Montana.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-07-2011, 10:21 AM
 
Location: NW Montana
451 posts, read 848,195 times
Reputation: 383
The Bitterroot Valley has become the destination for many of those mansion-builders and is quite crowded.

Stay North (and possibly bit West) of Missoula for what you describe as your ideal location. Look in Mineral, Sanders, Lincoln or Lake Counties. None are perfect - no place is. But that would be where to look in NorthWest Montana.

Good Luck.

mg
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-07-2011, 06:17 PM
 
8,977 posts, read 8,109,767 times
Reputation: 19497
The valley from Columbus to Billings (50 miles) is the mildest area of Montana. The weather people say it is in the Snow/Rain Shadow of the rockies. It snows to the western part, then quits in that valley, and then starts hard just east of Billings as it builds up again. Snow is about 10 inches less in Columbus than Billings. In that valley snow averages about 35 to 45 inches per year up and down the valley, and most years does not stay on the ground just the same as in the Fort Collins area. I was a commercial real estate broker in Loveland for many years, selling commercial property and farms/ranches so traveled all over Colorado and know the area very well.

I saw a lot more deep snow in Loveland/Ft Collins than in this part of Montana. The wind can blow hard here some times, but then it sometimes blew hard in Colorado too. Wind is more like Estes Park here in Montana, which is oftener than in Ft Collins.

There are small farms up and down this part of Montana, and we live on the edge of the town with a 300 acre+ farm next to us where they grew corn this year, and Alfalfa last year and I can see some others from our house. The big farms are in the North West part of Montana, where they grow corn and cattle. Similar to North Eastern Colorado. That area is also much worse weather, which is what you are trying to escape from. There are some small towns with Columbus being the largest at just under 2,000 people along this valley and the real start of the valley getting out of the mountains. Billings is about 100,000 and the biggest city in Montana for shopping. Interstate 90 runs along this valley so it does not take long to get to Billings.

Hope this helps some.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Montana
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top