There is a reason that we call Montana “The last, best place.” Our climate is one of the reasons people flock to the state. Temperatures on our campus in Missoula stay fairly mild. The western part of the state tends to have a milder climate than the east, with warmer winters, cooler summers, lighter winds and rainfall that is more evenly distributed through the year. Rainfall is generally light, with no rainy season. Most of the rain in the state falls between May and July. Average rainfall is about 45 centimeters a year. During July and August, brief mid-day thunderstorms are common and help cool the air.
Winters in Montana, while usually cold, have few extended cold spells. Montana’s cold spells are frequently interrupted by warm, dry chinook winds that cause mild periods that may last for 10 days or more. Annual snowfall in Montana can reach up to 300 inches 7.62 meters in the Rocky Mountains, but here in Missoula we average about 30 inches 76 centimeters a year.