Blame it on La Nina: Coldest spring in decades

flatheadnewsgroup.com | Jun 27, 2011

By CHRIS PETERSON

The numbers confirm what many people already suspected about this spring – April 1 to June 20 was cold and miserable.

The National Weather Service last week said Kalispell set records for the lowest average high temperature and the fewest number of days above 70 degrees.

The average high temperature for Kalispell was a paltry 57.6 degrees, a full degree lower than the previous mark of 58.8 degrees set in 1955. The average low temperature was 47 degrees, a tenth of a degree shy of the record average low of 46.9 degrees set in 1955.

Kalispell also had just nine days where the temperature was 70 degrees or higher – an all-time record going back to 1899. It’s also been very wet. Kalispell saw 6.64 inches of rain – the 11th wettest spring on record.

Weather forecasters say the cause of the cold, wet weather is the strongest La Nina recorded since 1988-1989. La Nina is a phenomena created when ocean waters near the equator cool near the South American coast through the central Pacific. This sets up a jet stream that steers weather systems over the northern Rockies.

When the jet stream flows over the Rockies, Montana gets more storms, cold and rain. The same weather pattern also resulted in a record snowpack this year.

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