by Robert Nolte
HUNTLEY – Snow has been on the ground in the Billings area for more than 70 days, the ninth longest stretch since the weather service has been keeping records.
And a significant melt isn’t predicted any time soon.
During January, the Huntley Project got 13.4 inches of snow — and most of it is still around, according to the National Weather Service that measures snowfall at the experiment station off Highway 312. Normal for the month is 8.3 inches of snow.
So far this winter, 23.4 inches of snow has fallen as measured at Huntley. State crews have been hauling the old snow off the roadways to make room for more.
If you were around in 1978, Billings and the Project had snow on the ground for 126 days, a record.
Winter officially ends on Saturday, March 20, this year. But there still could be snow on the ground as our area normally gets nearly 7 inches of snow in March (based on averages tallied from 1971 to 2000).
What’s normal for the county? The average snowfall from the start of winter in December until the end of the month is 3.3 inches; for January, the average is 10.9 and for February, the inch count falls to 6.5. March is normally 6.8 inches.
For the period from Dec. 21 until March 20, the snowfall depth is 27.6 inches based on data collected from 1971 until 2000.
Winter temperatures range from 38 degrees for the high, 19 for the low and an overall winter temperature average of 28.5 degrees.