Choteau’s October weather was eight degrees below normal on average, and 15.7 inches of new snow were added to the snow year’s total for a new record since July 1 of 35.7 inches so far.
A strong cold front brought colder temperatures on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1-3 setting new daily low records of 23, 4, 7 and 16 degrees, respectively.
A second cold wave brought one more daily record, a low of 13 on Oct. 11.
After late September’s snowstorm (20 inches on Sept. 28-30) Choteau’s record 12 inches of snow depth melted by Oct. 7, but then another snowstorm dumped 8.2 inches that melted by Oct. 12, according to Choteau’s official volunteer weather observer who sends the data to the National Weather Service.
One inch of snow fell on Oct. 23, which melted immediately, but a snowstorm on Oct. 26-29, did not melt until Nov. 3. On Nov. 4, another inch or two was predicted, because of temperatures in the 20s.
Choteau had a low of 2 degrees on Oct. 10, the second lowest temperature for that date, with the record being -4 degrees in 2009. Choteau set a precipitation daily record of .26 inch on Oct. 28. The city set a new daily record of 5.2 inches of snow on Oct. 8 that was tame compared to the 10 inches on Sept. 28 and nine inches on Sept. 29.
As of Nov. 3, Choteau has had the third highest October snowfall at 15.7 inches behind October 1975 with 21 inches and October 1957 with 16 inches. The normal is 2.3 inches. The city also set a new monthly record for average snow depth of 12 inches in October.
The temperatures were not all low and some mild conditions prevailed, notably highs of 72 degrees on Oct. 16, and 70 degrees on Oct. 25. But that mild period also brought some of the strongest winds of the month. On Oct. 18, gusts reached 73 miles per hour west of Bynum, according to the NWS. Gusts reached 51 mph at Choteau Airport, 56 mph at Eureka Lake and 62 mph at the Dellwo station.
According to the NWS, “A deep and very cold upper level trough and associated surface cold front moved through northcentral and southwest Montana on Oct. 28-29. The front cleared the Hi-line by 6 a.m., before continuing the southward momentum and reaching southwestern Montana later that afternoon. Behind the front, temperatures dropped from the 20s to the teens as periods of moderate to heavy snow fell and northerly winds gusted up to 40 mph.
“Area roadways quickly become snow packed and visibilities dropped to a quarter mile or less at times due to the falling and blowing snow. These conditions lead to traffic delays, slide offs and other traffic incidents throughout the region. Generally, areas southwest of a Cut Bank to Lewistown line were impacted most by the snow. In addition to the snowy conditions, unseasonably cold air settled into the region, with several locations setting record cold temperatures.”
Choteau’s average October temperature was 36.5 degrees where 44.9 is normal. The coldest October occurred in 1925 with an average temperature of 34.
The old Acantha reports contain many similarities to what has happened this fall. “Commencing last Friday, just a week after the storm which swept northern Montana as the first blizzard of the season, a second heavy snow has fallen in this territory, delaying traffic and adding to the crop and tree damage,” stated the Acantha on Oct. 1, 1925. “In Choteau and other cities of this region shade trees suffered heavily. Here the tops have been literally torn out of many trees, some of them old landmarks. Damage to crops is hard to estimate, but is considerable.”
On Oct. 15, 1925, the Acantha reported, “With moisture, accompanied by too warm weather, the order of the day for October, which Montanans normally look upon as the state’s finest month, Teton County farmers who have lost their crops in other years by reason of drought, cut worms, grasshoppers, hail, jack rabbits and gophers, are worrying now for fear that sprouting in the shocks and rotting in the stacks will rob them of returns from what looked like an excellent yield.”
The Oct. 29, 1925, Acantha reported that 0 temperatures, the first for that fall, came earlier than they had any year for at least five years.