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Old 02-08-2013, 09:54 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
9,075 posts, read 5,432,957 times
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In 1990 I bought a house in Colorado from a Montana couple from Billings. They were selling it themselves, she was a realtor. In the course of getting to know them, she told this story about Billings.

One early June morning she got up and looked outside to see bright sunshine and not a cloud in the sky. She put on shorts and a short sleeved shirt to go Saturday shopping. Got into the store and literally spent a couple of hours in the store before she noticed people coming in with coats on. She went to the front of whatever store she was in and it was snowing!

And in Colorado, in that home we bought from them, the next year in September, it was 90 degrees on a Saturday. We were out on the deck with my wife's best friend who was from Kentucky, sitting around in shorts and drinking iced tea. On Sunday morning we got up to take her to the airport and there was six inches of snow on the ground. She was shocked. And since we were just starting our second year in mountain country, we were a bit surprised ourselves.

So, yes, just about everywhere people talk about the weather changing rapidly where they live. But the only place I've seen it REALLY make a difference is the Rocky Mountain region of the country. Welcome to the high country!

 
Old 02-09-2013, 12:10 AM
 
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When we lived on the front range of Colorado, the old timers said the only day there had never been snow, was the 4th of July.

In the Rockies it can be warm in the morning, and very cold at night. However it can be the same anywhere in the nation. I remember in 1950 it was 98 degrees on the beach in San Diego on Christmas day, and that night it was impossible in navy blues and a heavy pea coat to stay warm.

Yes in Montana even in the so called Banana Belt around Billings, the weather can change rapidly in a day. Nice weather and then one of those Canadian freezes blows down later in the day and it is cold.

But the weather is nothing like in the North East today, where the governor ordered everyone off of the roads, and there is a $500 fine or a year in jail if you try to drive on the streets or highway. That is a lot worse than the weather in Montana ever gets except in the high mountains.

Montana does not get hurricanes is one good thing, and the east and southern coasts clear into Texas can really get blown away.

Lets look at the good things about living in Montana. In the 6 years we have lived here in Montana, the only power outages we have had was when they shut down the power an hour to change a transformer in the fall, and 3 - 10 minute power outages when they were doing some switching. Look at the places, that have terrible power outage problems that can go on for days. We don't sit and wait for the Big One Earthquake, that they keep warning the Californians about. We have never lost phone service. The snow is never deep enough, that we can't drive out our 600 foot lane to the main road that separates the county from the best part of the city without being plowed. In fact part of our 5 acres, is across the street from the city, but the house sets back on the other side of the property. The snow comes, and a couple of days later it is mostly melted most years. No long term snow on the ground. Our Lawns are still fairly green even in February. Kind of a green brown mix. Where the snow would blow a little deeper (4 or 5 inches), when it melted it left the ground wet and is about all green.

The weather is good enough, the Canadian Honkers (geese) winter here. Some days there may be over 1,000 in the field adjoining our home feeding on what was left in the field by the farmer. If I was a goose hunter, I could limit out shooting ones that wander into our yard from our front porch. It is quite a sight, when we look out to the field, and see a big flock of geese, with a herd of deer all mixed together. Last week looked out our window, and there was a flock of 13 wild Turkeys wandering around our side yard.

There are all kinds of birds in the trees around our place. The weather is good enough, that birds from small ones to geese all have weathered here. We have a heated horse water station that we keep operational year around, to make sure the deer etc., have water.

I am telling you about these things, so you will realize the weather is not that bad here in Montana. It is nothing like the thread starter tried to make it out.
 
Old 02-09-2013, 09:33 AM
 
Location: Spots Wyoming
18,696 posts, read 36,302,933 times
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That's a good review oldtrader, but here are some points to ponder.

Montana, through years of getting beat to death by weather, is much better prepared. A couple months ago, New York, Pennsylvania, etc... got hit with Hurricane Sandy and it was devastating. Granted, the flooding was horrific, but, they got hit with 70 mph winds that ripped off roofs, collapsed houses and garages, blew down trees, etc... Someplace in Montana has winds in excess of 70 mph almost every day.

In New York, when a storm is getting ready to hit, people are calling FEMA. In Montana, when a storm is getting ready to hit, people are calling the elderly couple next door to make sure they have enough firewood or propane to get by, and if not, offering up their spare bedroom or some of their firewood.

When they get 6-8 inches of snow, hundreds of thousands are without power, schools are canceled, thousands are left stranded on the highways. In Montana, 6-8 inches of snow doesn't even cause schools to start late.

It's simply a matter of survival and prepairdness. The Rocky Mountain region was kind of out in the frontier and if people were going to survive, they had to learn to take care of themselves because the people back in the "City" certainly didn't care. As such, homes are built stronger, most power is routed underground, people stock up on grocerys for winter, and people learn to take care of themselves. They don't wait for the Government to bail them out everytime it thunders.

Now, having said that, I am certainly not downplaying what they are getting hit with right now. They are getting hammered.
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:38 AM
 
Location: A Very Naughtytown In Northwestern Montanifornia U.S.A.
1,088 posts, read 1,587,521 times
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Yes we don't get the classic hurricanes but as EH said we can get hurricane force straight line winds and not just on the east side either. Even though western Montana is not famous for high winds we can get hammered at times also. Montana can and has had in recent times tornadoes though they are nothing like the monster ones that Tornado alley states can have.
I don't have a snow-blower or a leaf blower for light dry snow. I use a broom on the light dry snow if it's not too deep then I break out the snow shovel. We like to keep our stairs very clear so we don't trample it into ice. We sweep the steps in front of us as we walk to our rigs by sweeping in front of our footsteps all the way.
Right now we don't have any snow in our valley that I can see and it's been melting off the surrounding hills too.
I'm making some snow shoes from an old broken plastic milk crate and need some real snow to test them on. I don't want to drive way back in the mountains to test them, I'll just wait until we get some real snow here close to home. We'll get some before spring arrives if we are lucky.
 
Old 02-09-2013, 10:09 PM
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
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I can say after 3 years living in Helena MT and traveling all over the state- Winters here are not nearly as bad as what I had in West Virginia. Not even close. The temps are colder here, and the wind blows maybe a bit more, but as far as cold in your bones and snow every other day? No. Maybe if you live up in the mountains on the CDT or something- yeah, you got it rough.

It's not that bad out here, at all. Fires are the biggest issue IMO.
 
Old 02-10-2013, 05:39 AM
 
Location: Spots Wyoming
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Threerun, you are a good person to ask this. How much do you think humidity played a factor?

The reason I ask is that while I was in the Navy my ship was in San Francisco for a while and when we stood watch, there was no amount of foul weather gear you could wear to stay warm. Temps would be in the low 40's to upper 30's. We just couldn't warm up. Yet now, feeding horses, or elk hunting when it's -20 is no big deal. The only factor I can contribute that to is the humidity.
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:55 AM
 
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Montana is unusual, in that weather in Helena is fairly mild, this winter and last winter were very mild, in terms of snow and cold temperatures. I used to live in Great Falls, about an hour and a half or so from Helena...the wind factor is what makes Great Falls so cold. Helena is nestled in a valley, with mountains, small, but still a wind break. Butte is always colder, due to elevation...
 
Old 02-10-2013, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
11,811 posts, read 15,392,180 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElkHunter View Post
Threerun, you are a good person to ask this. How much do you think humidity played a factor?

The reason I ask is that while I was in the Navy my ship was in San Francisco for a while and when we stood watch, there was no amount of foul weather gear you could wear to stay warm. Temps would be in the low 40's to upper 30's. We just couldn't warm up. Yet now, feeding horses, or elk hunting when it's -20 is no big deal. The only factor I can contribute that to is the humidity.
Totally plays a factor. When we lived in Clarksburg WV the winters were usually 30-40 degree days, overcast and damp. It was in your bones cold. And it snowed, and snowed, and snowed... Cold, damp, cloudy- pretty miserable. I actually like the occasional drop into the single digits because it usually dried things out, lol.

I'm not kidding- you can look this up on the web, Terra Alta WV gets more average snow per year than Essex MT (which is just outside Glacier Park). And the moisture content (QPF I think it's called) makes it HEAVY.

I can absolutely positively say that in 3 winters here it is waaaay easier to cope with. You cab dress for wind and cold. It's hard to dress against cold and damp.
 
Old 02-10-2013, 01:57 PM
 
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Our local school system, does not even have snow days, where they close the schools due to snow. The snow does not get deep enough to cause any real problems, and most of the time the roads and yards are clear of snow. We had snow on the ground this morning, as we had an inch of snow last night, but it is mostly gone now, and the walks, etc., never did build up snow as they had enough heat in them from the sun yesterday they melted it as soon as it hit. This is Montana at just over 3,000 feet elevation which is higher than the highest mountains in some states.

People think that Montana has to have terrible weather, but except in the higher elevation snow areas we get much less snow than a lot of places in the U.S. And as others are saying, due to our low humidity the cold does not bother one as much as it does in places like San Diego at night. It is very easy to dress to handle the weather here, but as I and others remember, standing watch in heavy gear and you still freeze more than you do here at any time.
 
Old 02-10-2013, 02:45 PM
 
3,764 posts, read 7,432,763 times
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We've been out shoveling almost 2 feet of snow here RL today. But then our town & RLM are celebrating! Great skiing ahead!
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