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Old 06-05-2015, 08:30 AM
 
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Hi all,

I'm planning a move from Florida with my fiance, and Montana came up as a suggestion. Considering we're from Florida (and I've never even seen snow, haha), how crazy is a move to Montana? Are there any parts of Montana that have milder winters than the very snowy parts? We're also thinking of Idaho, Oregon and Washington state.

Basically, we're looking for lots to do outdoors (love hiking, biking, fishing), and legal work opportunities because my fiance is an attorney. I'm also looking for a low-pollution place with good air-quality, because I have a health condition that affects my lungs.

Thanks much for any input!
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Old 06-05-2015, 09:06 AM
 
Location: C-U metro
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I assume your fiancé knows he will have to pass the MT bar exam as Montana does not reciprocate with any state. Considering Florida law has some quirks to it he may or may not have an easy time with it. Montanans are not a litigious bunch like some Floridians so legal work isn't a huge industry here.

As far as weather, the Yellowstone valley tends to get chinook winds that help the weather be warmer there than the rest of the state. Some people think Billings has bad air but I don't believe that to be the case considering where it was in the '80s. It is mainly SO2 issues there, not particulates or ozone. The rest of the state has little issues with air now that heavy industry has pretty much closed in the Westen half.
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Old 06-05-2015, 09:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by flyingcat2k View Post
I assume your fiancé knows he will have to pass the MT bar exam as Montana does not reciprocate with any state. Considering Florida law has some quirks to it he may or may not have an easy time with it. Montanans are not a litigious bunch like some Floridians so legal work isn't a huge industry here.

As far as weather, the Yellowstone valley tends to get chinook winds that help the weather be warmer there than the rest of the state. Some people think Billings has bad air but I don't believe that to be the case considering where it was in the '80s. It is mainly SO2 issues there, not particulates or ozone. The rest of the state has little issues with air now that heavy industry has pretty much closed in the Westen half.
Thanks, most helpful! Yes, he knows. That's one challenge with planning our move. We would have to select the location in time for him to prepare for the February bar exam. Where do the SO2 issues come from? Are they industrial?
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Old 06-05-2015, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
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Billings has a couple refineries, but if you are upwind, no problem

The LOWER Yellowstone valley is fairly temperate, Columbus east, but the upper valley from Livingston down to Yellowstone has some nasty weather.

West of the divide is usually warmer and wetter, lots of snow and clouds, the eastern siide of the divide is usually colder, drier and more wind, but not nearly as cloudy and dreary during the winter.

If your finance is knowledgeable in business law, that would be a real plus for the state as we don't have a lot of good business lawyers. Lots of divorce lawyers, water lawyers, contract lawyers, criminal lawyers etc. but good business lawyers are few and far between.

Bozeman gets some heavy snow, and it can get cold, but it's a pretty active town and growing, it may be a place you would want to consider as it's large enough to have room for another lawyer.
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Old 06-05-2015, 11:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MTSilvertip View Post
Billings has a couple refineries, but if you are upwind, no problem

The LOWER Yellowstone valley is fairly temperate, Columbus east, but the upper valley from Livingston down to Yellowstone has some nasty weather.

West of the divide is usually warmer and wetter, lots of snow and clouds, the eastern siide of the divide is usually colder, drier and more wind, but not nearly as cloudy and dreary during the winter.

If your finance is knowledgeable in business law, that would be a real plus for the state as we don't have a lot of good business lawyers. Lots of divorce lawyers, water lawyers, contract lawyers, criminal lawyers etc. but good business lawyers are few and far between.

Bozeman gets some heavy snow, and it can get cold, but it's a pretty active town and growing, it may be a place you would want to consider as it's large enough to have room for another lawyer.
Thanks! He specializes in several areas since he works for the county gov't right now. I believe he works in the following: land use, contracts, business, foreclosures and corporate law.

Bozeman is a new suggestion! Will look into it. Any thoughts on Missoula? Several recommended, but someone mentioned it has an issue with wildfires, and I wouldn't be able to handle the smoke.
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Old 06-05-2015, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
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Originally Posted by kmarleee View Post
Thanks! He specializes in several areas since he works for the county gov't right now. I believe he works in the following: land use, contracts, business, foreclosures and corporate law.

Bozeman is a new suggestion! Will look into it. Any thoughts on Missoula? Several recommended, but someone mentioned it has an issue with wildfires, and I wouldn't be able to handle the smoke.
Missoula has the law school and is saturated with lawyers.

If you have respratory problems, Missoula is subject to inversions every winter that make the air thick enough to cut with a knife.
Wouldn't reccomend it.
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Old 06-05-2015, 12:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MTSilvertip View Post
Missoula has the law school and is saturated with lawyers.

If you have respratory problems, Missoula is subject to inversions every winter that make the air thick enough to cut with a knife.
Wouldn't reccomend it.
Good to know. Are many parts of MT subject to this weather phenomenon, or is it just relegated to the Missoula region?
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Old 06-05-2015, 12:55 PM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
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Originally Posted by kmarleee View Post
Good to know. Are many parts of MT subject to this weather phenomenon, or is it just relegated to the Missoula region?
Many Montana towns are in valleys that can have some measure of inversion during the winter, Helena is one other town that gets them, but most of the towns don't reach the level that Missoula gets. Helena's inversion is usually gone in a few days, and if you are just a few miles outside city limits, it doesn't effect you.
The valley Missoula is in holds the inversions, they don't get a lot of wind, and it can be pretty nasty.

The towns that get wind, like Great Falls or Miles City, never have that issue.

I've never seen or heard of an inversion in Bozeman, but I suppose it could theoretically happen, but the Gallatin Valley is much larger and more open than the Missoula area.
The City of Billings can get mild inversions, but those don't last very long and aren't as severe. If you are just outside of town in Columbus or Park City, you wouldn't be effected.

When cold air masses settle in, any town can have some degree of inversion, but the towns where there are winds, it usually doesn't last more than a couple days before it blows out.
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Old 06-05-2015, 01:41 PM
 
44 posts, read 44,087 times
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Originally Posted by MTSilvertip View Post
Many Montana towns are in valleys that can have some measure of inversion during the winter, Helena is one other town that gets them, but most of the towns don't reach the level that Missoula gets. Helena's inversion is usually gone in a few days, and if you are just a few miles outside city limits, it doesn't effect you.
The valley Missoula is in holds the inversions, they don't get a lot of wind, and it can be pretty nasty.

The towns that get wind, like Great Falls or Miles City, never have that issue.

I've never seen or heard of an inversion in Bozeman, but I suppose it could theoretically happen, but the Gallatin Valley is much larger and more open than the Missoula area.
The City of Billings can get mild inversions, but those don't last very long and aren't as severe. If you are just outside of town in Columbus or Park City, you wouldn't be effected.

When cold air masses settle in, any town can have some degree of inversion, but the towns where there are winds, it usually doesn't last more than a couple days before it blows out.
That's very helpful, thank you.
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Old 06-05-2015, 03:22 PM
 
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As prev posted, Montana has an abundance of lawyers...to the point that many do paralegal work in law firms instead of the firm having paralegals on staff.

That said oil & gas industry-- law & accounting expertise is always in demand. Bond counsel is another.

The Billings Gazette said that the state governmental sector based mainly in the capital Helena has undergone personnel reduction due to last legislative session action. One mentioned was easement and right of way attorneys.

All government state & local positions are compensated at a lower rate than neighboring states of Idaho or Washington. However, I know junior attorneys that have happily taken county attorney/deputy attorney & city attorney positions which pay much lower than private sector just to have a job in law.

Air quality as others have said--it is an issue in deep valleys air locked like Missoula. Decades ago Missoula was horrible for the industry produced crap in the air & everyone references that..."it's not like it was".

In winter it might be an issue for sensitive people in other towns where heavy use of household woodburning stoves occurs. That would likely be in towns near a National Forest where cheap firewood is abundant. Overall as a state Montana has very good air quality with heavy pollen counts are more apt to bother the allergy prone.

***I would secure the job prior to moving a family to Montana. It is my understanding from former Floridians that Montana COL & property is higher/more expensive that all but the swankiest parts of Florida.

The winter severity is affected by several factors.
Elevation is one. If you live below 3000 feet you will deal with less snow.
Wind--specifically North wind--if you are protected from winter arctic cold North wind (like a mountain range blocks it) winter is much milder feeling. 4 miles from my house at the neighbor place winter is miserable with North wind while same say at my place maybe a breeze, maybe nothing.
Sunny days--if you live where it is not typically overcast (away from large water features) the bright sunshine makes winter seem less gray & dreary.
Growing season/days that freeze--if in area with longer growing season, winter is just shorter. In southeastern part at 3000 feet we will have from 120-145 day growing season---our place in Southwestern part at 6500 feet has 35-65 day growing season. Big difference.

Once you get a job prospect or two, check back here for information about that specific area. Montana covers a big area & climate conditions can vary dramatically town to town---however it all very very rural in actuality & attitude.
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