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January 2006: West Glacier's Wettest Month Ever Recorded

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Date: February 8, 2006
Contact: Melissa Wilson, 406 888-7895

WEST GLACIER, MONT. – January 2006 is a month for the record books. Dating back to 1950, it was the wettest month ever recorded at West Glacier with 7.66 inches of total precipitation. It was also the warmest January on record, with an average temperature of 32.7 degrees.

West Glacier reached a maximum temperature of 41 degrees on January 31. The minimum temperature was 20 degrees which occurred on January 26. January’s total snowfall was 34.4 inches, which surpassed January 2005’s snowfall of 22.2 inches by over a foot. Despite the warm temperatures, 21 inches of snow remained on the ground on January 31. Last year, only four inches of snow were on the ground on January 31. The 10 year mean precipitation for January 1996-2005 is 3.42 inches.

The previous record for January temperatures was in 1953, when temperatures averaged 32 degrees. That year was also the second wettest January recorded. For comparison, the coldest January was in 1979, with an average temperature of 3.6 degrees.

Did You Know?

Lake McDonald

Lake McDonald is the largest lake in the park with a length of 10 miles and a depth of 472 feet. The glacier that carved the Lake McDonald valley is estimated to have been around 2,200 feet thick.