Climate and monthly weather forecast
Montana, USA

Flag of Montana, USA
Flag of Montana, USA

The climate of Montana

Montana has a northern Pacific coastal climate with cool summers and mild winters in the western part of the state, while the eastern part, separated by the Continental Divide, experiences a semi-arid, continental type of climate (Köppen climate classification BSk) with warm summers and cold winters. Wyoming in the south, Idaho in the west, the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan in the north, and North Dakota and South Dakota in the east, border the state. The climate varies considerably due to the variation in topography, geography, and altitude in different parts of the state.

Montana, the Big Sky Country, is home to many mountains - the western half contains numerous mountain ranges of the Rocky Mountains, while the eastern half mainly consists of the prairie landscape. The largest landlocked American state lies in the Western United States, and the Continental Divide splits the state into western and eastern regions, which have different climates. The Continental Divide creates two distinct climate types in the state as it prevents drier air from moving west and warmer air from the Pacific from moving east.

The best time to visit Montana

Summers are pleasant with moderate temperatures - so the best time to visit Montana is during the summer to early fall, particularly from June to September.
Spring is cold, while early summer is prone to rain and thunderstorms. The late part of autumn invites cold and windy conditions, so summer experiences the best weather. Summers tend to be moderate in the mountain ranges, but the lowlands see many days in the 75°F (23.9°C) to 85°F (29.4°C) range.
Summer sees a vast rise in tourist numbers, especially in the Yellowstone and Glacier national parks, even though accommodation rates are at yearly highs.

The worst time to visit Montana

November to February is the worst time to visit Montana, as the state experience severe cold weather and extreme temperatures.
Cold fronts are common during the winter that sees a substantial drop in temperatures. Mountain trails close during the winter due to intense cold as they gather vast amounts of snowfall often up to 300" (7620mm). Majority of the towns in the prairie register 30" (762mm) to 50" (1270mm) of snow during the winter. Winter days are rarely above freezing in many parts of Montana, and the Chinook winds provide some respite to the cold.
Winter is a slow tourist season, which draws some visitors due to off-season discounts and winter activities.

Spring weather in Montana

Spring in Montana is marked by cold weather. The transition from winter brings gradual warming, but temperatures remain relatively low. Rain is common, and occasional thunderstorms can occur, particularly in early summer. In the mountainous regions, melting snow can lead to wet conditions. While spring sees an increase in daylight and the revival of flora, the weather stays mostly brisk, and visitors should prepare for varying conditions ranging from 40°F (4.4°C) to 60°F (15.6°C).

Summer weather in Montana

Summer is characterized by moderate daytime temperatures and cool, pleasant nights in Montana. The lowlands witness temperatures from 75°F (23.9°C) to 85°F (29.4°C), while the mountain ranges remain more temperate. Rain and thunderstorms are typical in early summer, but they usually give way to clear, sunny days. Humidity is generally low, and extreme temperatures are rare, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities and exploration.

Autumn weather in Montana

Autumn brings cold and windy conditions to Montana. As the season progresses, temperatures begin to drop sharply, especially during the late part of the autumn. The prairie landscapes start to dry, and the mountains prepare for the approaching winter. Temperatures typically range from 40°F (4.4°C) to 60°F (15.6°C) but can fluctuate significantly. While the colors of fall foliage are beautiful, visitors must be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions.

Winter weather in Montana

Winter in Montana is dominated by freezing temperatures, significant snowfall, and harsh weather. Mountainous regions gather vast amounts of snowfall, often up to 300" (7620mm), while prairie towns register snow from 30" (762mm) to 50" (1270mm). Daytime temperatures rarely rise above freezing, with averages falling between 0°F (-17.8°C) to 20°F (-6.7°C). The Chinook winds from the southwest occasionally raise the temperatures to the warm 50°F (10°C) to 60°F (15.6°C) range. Though beautiful, winter weather can be challenging, requiring proper preparation and caution.

Weather in January

January is the coldest month of the year in Montana, characterized by freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall. The climate varies across the state, with the eastern part experiencing more severe conditions due to the semi-arid, continental climate. Weather in January »

Weather in February

February continues the winter season in Montana, though it often brings a slight moderation in temperature compared to the frigid conditions of January. While the month remains cold, it does not usually reach the extreme low temperatures recorded in the preceding month. The minimum temperature in February ranges from 5°F (-15°C) to 10°F (-12.2°C), while the maximum temperature may hover between 30°F (-1.1°C) and 40°F (4.4°C). Weather in February »

Weather in March

March signals a transition towards spring in Montana, yet winter weather still prominently influences the state's climate. The month sees a gradual increase in temperatures but remains relatively cold, particularly in the eastern part of the state, influenced by its semi-arid, continental climate. The minimum temperature in March ranges from 15°F (-9.4°C) to 25°F (-3.9°C), and the maximum temperature varies between 40°F (4.4°C) and 50°F (10°C). Weather in March »

Weather in April

April in Montana represents a more pronounced shift towards spring, with temperatures continuing to rise and winter's influence gradually waning. However, the state's varied geography and topography mean that weather conditions can still fluctuate significantly. The minimum temperature in April usually ranges from 25°F (-3.9°C) to 35°F (1.7°C), while the maximum temperature tends to vary between 50°F (10°C) and 60°F (15.6°C). Weather in April »

Weather in May

May marks the arrival of late spring in Montana, bringing more consistent warmth and a noticeable decline in snowfall across most of the state. The varied geography continues to influence weather patterns, with milder temperatures in the western region and warmer but still variable conditions in the eastern part. The minimum temperature in May typically ranges from 35°F (1.7°C) to 45°F (7.2°C), while the maximum temperature generally varies between 60°F (15.6°C) and 70°F (21.1°C). Weather in May »

Weather in June

June in Montana is the onset of summer, characterized by warmer temperatures and more consistent weather patterns. The state's geography still plays a role in creating variations, with the western region generally experiencing cooler conditions compared to the warmer eastern part. The minimum temperature in June usually ranges from 45°F (7.2°C) to 55°F (12.8°C), while the maximum temperature is typically between 70°F (21.1°C) and 80°F (26.7°C). Weather in June »

Weather in July

July is the peak of summer in Montana, often recognized as the hottest month of the year, with both the western and eastern parts of the state experiencing consistent warmth. The minimum temperature in July ranges from 50°F (10°C) to 60°F (15.6°C), while the maximum temperature is generally between 80°F (26.7°C) and 90°F (32.2°C). Weather in July »

Weather in August

August continues the warm trend of summer in Montana, though the month may start to show slight signs of cooling, particularly towards the end. Both the western and eastern parts of the state experience warm temperatures, but localized variations persist due to Montana's diverse geography. The minimum temperature in August ranges from 50°F (10°C) to 60°F (15.6°C), and the maximum temperature usually falls between 75°F (23.9°C) and 85°F (29.4°C). Weather in August »

Weather in September

September marks the beginning of the transition from summer to autumn in Montana, with temperatures gradually declining and the weather showing signs of change. The variations between the western and eastern regions of the state continue to be influenced by the topography and geography. The minimum temperature in September ranges from 40°F (4.4°C) to 50°F (10°C), while the maximum temperature generally falls between 65°F (18.3°C) and 75°F (23.9°C). Weather in September »

Weather in October

October brings a more pronounced shift to autumn in Montana, with temperatures continuing to drop and weather conditions becoming more variable. The western and eastern parts of the state experience different climates, reflecting the influence of the Continental Divide and varying topography. The minimum temperature in October ranges from 30°F (-1.1°C) to 40°F (4.4°C), and the maximum temperature generally falls between 50°F (10°C) and 60°F (15.6°C). Weather in October »

Weather in November

November in Montana marks a substantial transition towards winter, with temperatures continuing to fall, and more frequent snow and icy conditions. Both the western part, with its northern Pacific coastal climate, and the eastern part, with its semi-arid continental climate, experience these changes, though with regional variations. The minimum temperature in November can range from 15°F (-9.4°C) to 25°F (-3.9°C), and the maximum temperature typically falls between 40°F (4.4°C) and 50°F (10°C). Weather in November »

Weather in December

December ushers in the full onset of winter in Montana, with temperatures dropping further and snow becoming a defining feature, especially in the mountainous regions. The state's varied geography creates distinct weather patterns in the western and eastern regions. The minimum temperature in December can be as low as 0°F (-17.8°C) and ranges up to 15°F (-9.4°C), while the maximum temperature typically falls between 25°F (-3.9°C) and 35°F (1.7°C). Weather in December »
Updated: May 24, 2024
Published by: Weather U.S. | About Us
Data Sources | Weather Forecasting & Climate

Montana, USA

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