BOZEMAN – Harsh winter weather consumed the entire month of February and the first 11 days of March for Bozeman and most of Montana.
This article focus is on snow depth records for Bozeman. Heavy snow impacted the entire state in the last week of February with most valleys picking up 1’ to 2’ or more of total snow accumulations. Bozeman MSU saw 6 days straight with measurable snowfall from February 24th to March 1st with a total of 23” of snow recorded at the COOP weather station on campus.
Temperatures from February 17th to March 11th have been mostly below 10° at night and 13 of those mornings falling well below zero. Daily average temperature departures have varied from -10° to nearly -50° below average.
So the combination of a long duration snow event and extreme cold has trapped a historic amount of snow down in the valley floor for Bozeman.
So far, 14 consecutive days as of March 11th Bozeman MSU has a snow depth of >= 24”.
The National Weather Service office in Great Falls confirmed the above data as the longest and greatest snow depth for Bozeman MSU. The previous record was 2 consecutive days with a snow depth >= 24” 12-26-1996.
The NWS also tells us that for March 11th 24” snow depth is also a daily record for Bozeman. The old record snow depth for March 11th was 19” back in 1969.
Other notable snow records for Bozeman. The latest extreme snowfall recorded for Bozeman MSU was 29.5” of snow April 2nd to April 4th, 1955.
The data above is a reason to be concerned for snow loading on building with flat roofs. So far, two weeks with 24″ of heavy snow is stressing buildings snow load capacity. As MTN has been reporting two major roof collapses on the Montana State University Campus in the last week due to snow loading.
FEMA has a great guide on snow loading dangers: CLICK HERE
INSIDE THE FORECAST:
March 1st report on snow loading concerns from Meteorologist Carson Vickroy: CLICK HERE
As alarming as this topic is for Bozeman and SW Montana a more potential devastating impact is possible in the next month and that is snowmelt flooding. The best case scenario is the valley snowpack melts out slowly in time but historically there have been incredible overland flooding events in March when temperatures jump up into the 50s producing rapid snowmelt damage.