Q  Does the wind ever blow in your part of the world?

A  Well, occasionally. To better understand the phenomenon of wind along the Front, here is the wind-speed chart which is in common use:
Gentle Breeze0 - 20 mph
Light Breeze20 - 40 mph
Steady Breeze40 - 60 mph
Gentle Spring Breeze60 - 80 mph
Gusts80 - 100 mph
Winds100 - 120 mph
Strong Winds120 - ??? mph

Q  I have heard that winters in Montana can be murderous. Is this true?

A  Our winters can get out of control, there is no doubt of that. Temperatures of -30 or -40 are not uncommon. The good news is that nothing lasts forever. Especially here in the "Chinook Belt" along the Rocky Mountain Front, the winter cold is punctuated by warm breezy periods which often melt the snow and ice completely. In fact, the word "chinook" comes from an Indian word meaning "snow-eater".

Temperature rises associated with a chinook can be dramatic. On January 11, 1980, the temperature at Great Falls changed from -32 to +15 in 7 minutes flat, a national record. The 15-minute record occurred in Havre, when the mercury rose from -6 to +37. And, on January 23, 1916, Browning's temperature plummeted from +44 to -56 over a 24-hour period, also a national record. As the old saying goes, if you don't like the weather, just stay where you are.

Speaking of national records, the coldest reading so far recorded in the lower 48 was -70 at Rogers Pass in January of 1954!