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Old 01-08-2013, 09:40 PM
 
Location: New Meadows, ID
121 posts, read 180,735 times
Reputation: 175

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We (the wife and I) live in East Central Washington, near a town called Leavenworth. This is just an intermediate stop before we move to MT, probably Eureka or somewhere in the FV. Have spent alot of time in the area, so this question is strictly about weather.

We have lived in many places in the US, including the mtns of CO, the mtns of CA, the midwest... We don't mind snow, cold or stormy weather in general.. we generally like it. 3+ feet on the ground here now, and it snows almost everyday.

However, what we are having trouble adapting to is the persistant low clouds/fog. While we live on the "drier side" east of the Cascade Mtns, that's a bit misleading..

In the summer, sure we have sun and warm for 3-4 months, while Seattle is in fog and clouds.... but, in the winter, we have an inversion that sets up across the eastern half of the state... and the clouds sit very low and you sometimes don't see the sun for 2-3 weeks (I'm serious) and often don't even see the mtn tops..

We are not so much depressed, but I get actually get a kinda clausterphobic. Sometimes we go skiing, and you can get above it... but it's really relentless. It doesn't help that there are smaller valleys here and alot more trees, so that makes it worse.

My question... I realize MT is often rather grey in the winter.. I have looked at some climate charts, and some areas show less sunny days then here. But.. my main question is, are areas like the Tobacco and Flathead Valley's somewhat similar? Are there weeks on end with no sun? Are the clouds at least a little higher that you can often see the mtns?

The one thing I liked about CO is that yes, they get plenty of storms, but after the storm the sun is often out afterwards.. it's not like that here in the mtns of WA.

Now, I can handle even 3-4 days in a row of storminess/clouds.. with maybe some breaks of sun every few days.. in between.

Ok, you get the picture.. I think 8 paragraphs of me saying the same thing is enough to get my point across.

Thanks!

sno
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:04 PM
 
5,402 posts, read 5,025,633 times
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If you want plenty of sunshine in Montana winters, you need live below 47th latitude. Here's a solar map to help you.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in My State: Montana Renewable Energy Resource Maps
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:17 PM
 
Location: New Meadows, ID
121 posts, read 180,735 times
Reputation: 175
thanks... Lincoln/Flathead Co. are both about the same as where I live now according to that map...

I live at 48'. But I wonder if the clouds in that area are any higher than here where there's a pronounced inversion?

Last edited by snowave; 01-08-2013 at 10:29 PM..
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:08 PM
 
297 posts, read 715,132 times
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Missoula and the Missoula Valley can have bad inversions. We lived in Libby for a while, too, and the fog there in the winter was terrible sometimes. I think the Flathead Valley would be better. Just MHO.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:46 PM
 
3,763 posts, read 7,917,153 times
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We're skiers & were checking out Whitefish. Whitefish Mt does a flashing light in town to indicate when it is clear up top at the ski area! That was our first clue.

Red Light Special! Come up to ski 'cause it's finally a clear day!
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:38 PM
 
Location: New Meadows, ID
121 posts, read 180,735 times
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Ha... that's pretty funny. We have a place here in WA called Mission Ridge that is often above the muck... this was on Jan 1.





Anyway, we are strongly considering Eureka.. which I know gets cloudy alot in winter, but I'm hoping it's not that inversion/fog stuff as much as it is a little higher clouds.
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:10 AM
 
9,751 posts, read 9,405,600 times
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As someone that lived the first 25 years of my life in Eureka Ca area, let me tell you that Eureka is one of the grayest areas of the country with cloudy day and partially cloudy days. It is not really inversions, but just the climate in the area. The cold coast, is the real cause of the bleakness of the days there. Lots of fog also. Sunshine only happens 51% of possible times it could shine if it shined all day every day.

Climate Information for Eureka*-*California*-*West*-*United States*-*Climate Zone

Montana is very similar to what you had in Colorado where I lived for almost 20 years, and different areas of Montana match similar areas of Montana weather wise. Much of the weather pattern is, it hits Montana then moves south to Colorado. Some times bad weather that hits Colorado does not hit Montana at all as it swings south in Idaho.
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Old 01-11-2013, 05:51 PM
 
Location: New Meadows, ID
121 posts, read 180,735 times
Reputation: 175
Thanks, but I was referring to Eureka, Montana, not CA.

I do know that CO is generally sunnier than MT, because usually it's alot colder overall, and most of the state and it's inhabited areas are at a much higher elevation than MT. Being further south with a higher sun angle doesn't hurt, either.
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:26 PM
 
Location: Kalispell, MT
21 posts, read 32,180 times
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It was sunny today (Flathead). For a little while, anyway. There may have been a sunny day in early December, but I don't remember.
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:10 PM
 
Location: New Meadows, ID
121 posts, read 180,735 times
Reputation: 175
Ha, sounds like here.. yesterday was the first "bluebird" day I can remember since it started raining/snowing in October!
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