Posted: Nov 14, 2011 7:06 AM by Russ Thomas (StormTracker Weather Center)
Updated: Nov 14, 2011 9:12 AM
MISSOULA- The snow has been falling in western Montana and forecasters are expecting another winter of above average precipitation and while the snow brings joy to many, it can be a headache for others.
The prospects of a wet and cool winter are looking more likely with each passing long-range forecast as historically, a La Niña weather pattern in the northwest brings the certainty of one thing above all others.
"Since we've been taking snowfall data in the mountains around 1970 every La Niña has produced above normal, well above normal in some cases, snowfall," National Weather Service meteorologist Bob Nester explained.
Nester says this year should be no different and that the odds of seeing above normal snowfall this winter are very high.
The expectation of a snowy winter is great news for all ages, from kids jumping at the chance to pull out the sleds, to all who are ready to hit the slopes. Snowbowl Manager Pat McKay says its great news for his business.
"Last year was a record year, we had excellent snow. When you guys [weather forecasters] are reporting that we could possibly see a real good year it gets people excited and gets them buying early passes," McKay pointed out.
However, while a harsh winter is a boom for some, it can be downright financially draining for others.
"We over expended our budget for purchasing de-icing products, we over-expended overtime. It just seemed like it was non-stop for 2 1/2 months," Missoula Street Division Superintendent Brian Hensel said.
He added that the main problem was not how much snow Missoula received, but the frequency of times the roads froze and thawed
"It was practically impossible to avoid potholes, like this one, that littered city streets last year, taking their toll on driver's vehicles, and ultimately their wallets," Hensel explained.
The question heading into this winter is can anything be done now to prevent those problems from happening again ahead of this winters storms.
While Hensel says that while there's very little that can be done to predict where a pothole will form, he's hoping that the purchase of a $188,000 asphalt recycler will lead to a more long-term solution
"That was one of the major issues, as a result of all the snow and the extra freezing and thawing, and all of the pothole patching, the way that we've always done it was extremely ineffective. Now, we can patch it back with that hot mix one time and it could last as long as any asphalt patch done in the summer months," Hensel pointed out
This solution should even bring a little excitement to those that are a little grumpy about the snowy cold, snowy winter ahead.