We all know that the weather in Montana has a mind of its own. As the saying goes here in the Treasure State, if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes. But in all reality, how is this upcoming summer looking?

Being a Meteorologist, I nerd out pretty hard when discussing the weather. I also understand the importance of accurate weather forecasts, especially regarding agriculture, construction, and summertime plans. Predicting the weather is basically magic, so use this forecast at your own risk. haha

Weather Factors In Montana

Three main factors will influence our summer weather: the ElNino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO), and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Many folks think that ElNino and LaNina are the only factors that play into our summer forecast, but unfortunately, it is far from that easy.

ENSO Impacts On Montana

The ENSO is arguably the most significant driving force of weather in Montana. It breaks down Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) in the South Pacific Ocean into three phases: LaNina, ElNino, and Neutral. We've been experiencing ElNino conditions, but these SSTs are changing rapidly to La Nina conditions.

Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly
National Weather Service

OBO Impacts On Montana

The QBO are upper-level winds in the Stratosphere located over the equator. There are two phases, Westerly and Easterly, which ultimately influence the direction of upper-level winds. Currently, we're in an easterly phase, which tends to block up the atmosphere. Ideal conditions for Montana are Westerly.

PDO Impacts On Montana

The PDO is the oscillation of SSTs in the North Pacific. It has two phases: warmer than average or cooler than average SSTs. Cooler-than-average temperatures are the best conditions for the Pacific Northwest. Currently, the PDO is in a positive phase, aka warmer.

Montana Summer Weather Forecast

ElNino is fading and transitioning to LaNino. The speed at which that happens is critical. If the transition continues at its current speed, this will lead to a hot and dry summer. The QBO is also not doing us any favors in an easterly phase. This phase generally leads to high-pressure development, aka hot temperatures. As for the PDO, we're looking at warmer-than-average SSTs off the North Pacific, which generally leads to little to no moisture here in Montana.

The bottom line is if everything continues like it is now, we can expect a very hot and dry summer here in the Treasure State. If any of these elements change, we'll be looking at a whole different ball game.

Related: Here’s How To Become An Expert Storm Spotter In Montana

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