The saying in Montana has always been, "If you dont like the weather, wait a minute." It is true. We have some pretty bi-polar weather patterns here in Big Sky Country. I cannot count on all my fingers and toes, how many times my daily commute started with the heater being on and ended with the air conditioner blowing cold air. So far in 2021, I have found myself getting strange looks from people for grocery shopping in flip flops and shorts. The way I see it, if the snow is not deep enough, I wear flip flops. Shorts look goofy with snow boots anyways. Bring on the "fashion police."

We have had a rather mild winter so far in 2020-21. As someone who really enjoys winter sports, the lack of winter has been a bummer. But, if history has anything to say about it. That could change any day, or in a matter of minutes. Let's take a look at the tale of the night Montana set the record for coldest spot in continental US.

According to Rick and Susie Graetz, from the UM Geography Dept

on Jan. 20, 1954, the Montana and continental 48 states’ record cold temperature of minus 70 degrees was observed at a mining camp near the Continental Divide a short distance from Rogers Pass near Helena. 

For anyone who has driven Rogers Pass, you may have seen the sign marking the location of the old mining camp, where the temperature was recorded. The weather had been cloudy and snowy for nearly a week leading up to that night. Then the clouds cleared, leaving the sky open to any heat that wanted to escape. The mining camp was located in a small bowl shaped part of the pass, which made things even cooler.

According to Rick and Susie Graetz, from the UM Geography Dept

That same night a low of minus 31 degrees occurred in Butte, minus 43 degrees in Havre, minus 34 degrees in Billings, minus 37 degrees in Great Falls, minus 36 degrees in Helena and minus 14 degrees in Missoula.

Read the full report on exactly how Montana set the record for coldest spot in the continental US.

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