Join Janet on her adventures as a designer, writer, maker, and farmer in montana. no two days are ever the same. you might even see a bear or two.

"Potentially Historic" Storm

"Potentially Historic" Storm

According to the National Weather Service, it has been 30 years since there has been a measurable snowfall in September in Missoula. We would have to go all the way back to September 1924 and September 1936 to find events similar to the one that is being predicted. The forecast is being made with “high confidence,” which is important. Many times, the weather forecasters predict doom and gloom and we get nothing. We shall see.

The forecast has been broken down into three phases: Phase 1 is Friday night into Saturday morning. Expected heavy, wet snowfall of 1-3 feet in the higher elevations (above 5000 feet; we are at 3250 feet). Strong gusty winds up to 50 mph (with some locally higher gusts possible) in the Flathead Valley (that’s us). Our fire chief has already sent out a bulletin, noting that it is likely our crews will be out dealing with downed trees and power lines. I will be surprised if we don’t lose power and possibly a few trees. Phase 2 is Saturday into Sunday, when the temps are expected to drop and snowfall moves westward and down into the valleys. This is a total unknown. How much snow? How cold? The cold will continue Sunday into Monday, making wet roadways slick (that is Phase 3).

I did the extra prep I needed to today. We are stocked up on chicken feed. The fireplace is empty of ashes and the woodbox is full. The garden is as clean as it is going to get. The greenhouse is closed up. The porch is cleared of anything that could blow around in a windstorm. All of the insulated curtains are up on the windows. I stopped at the grocery store and picked up beer for the husband. (I have a sufficient supply of whiskey.) We have plenty of food, even if I have to cook it in the fireplace. When the husband gets home, he will check the generator and make sure it is gassed up (we last used it in August). The snowblower and plow truck are ready to go.


I belong to a Facebook group called Flathead 411. The admin is terrific—she has a great sense of humor and she doesn’t put up with people who get their panties twisted about every little thing. Early this morning, she posted a poll asking people to vote on what they thought would happen with the weather this weekend. These were the options:

  • Mildly cold. Some snow. (45 votes. Keep in mind that in Montana, “mildly cold” could be anything as low as -30 degrees and “some snow” could be up to four feet.)

  • All four seasons in a day. (28 votes. These people like their Facebook memes.)

  • It's not gonna do anything, maybe just cooler than usual but mostly just disappointment. (22 votes. Obviously a bunch of jaded, bitter residents hoping for an apocalypse.)

  • Rainy and cold here in the valley with snow flakes in the air. (7 votes.)

  • Vehicles abandoned on highways. Fires in the middle of roads. Silent hill siren. End times. (4 votes. Really?)

  • Too cold, too wet, too soon. (4 votes. These people moved here from California.)

  • Very cold. Lots of snow. (3 votes. See comment on first option.)

  • Volcano. (3 votes. Well, if the caldera blows, at least we’ll be warm.)

  • 80 degrees and rain. (2 votes. What are you smoking?)

  • Rain and windy with a skiff of snow on the ground in the morning. (2 votes)

  • Frozen 2....Let it be. (1 vote)

  • Hot cocoa and watch it blow. (1 vote)

I was more amused by this than I probably should have been.


This is happening tomorrow, hopefully before the storm blows in:


I’ll take pictures of the actual pour.

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