Northwest Montana had one of its driest and hottest Augusts on record.
The lack of rain in Kalispell last month made it the seventh driest August on record since the National Weather Service started keeping track in 1948.
“Getting only 0.16 inch of rain throughout the month is pretty significant. It’s well below normal,” National Weather Service meteorologist Dave Noble said last week.
There were six days of rain throughout August in the Kalispell area, but each was less than one tenth of an inch — an amount that Noble described as “small fries.” The average precipitation for Kalispell in August is 1.17 inches
When you add July precipitation to the equation, the combined amount adds up to only 0.23 inch — the third driest July-August on record.
In addition to parched conditions, steady heat waves permeated the region during the past month. According to the National Weather Service, the Kalispell area had its 16th warmest August since 1948. Sensors at Glacier Park International Airport recorded 24 days over 80 degrees, and temperatures crept to more than 90 degrees for three days in August.
No high temperature records were set, however a record low temperature was set at Kalispell on Aug. 15. The record low dipped to 36 degrees.
The consistent hot, dry daytime temperatures throughout July and August have contributed to severe drought conditions in Lincoln, Sanders and western Flathead County. Gov. Steve Bullock released multiple drought disaster declarations throughout the summer that included parts of Northwest Montana.
The drought conditions have escalated throughout the West, fueling wildfires and prompting public health warnings because of decreases in air quality.