As winter weather approaches, a lot of Montanans are wondering what we can expect for the next several months.  Will it be a long cold winter?  Will we see lots of snow?  Or can we expect a milder winter compared to last year?

There are several different sources that folks look to get an idea of what winter will be like.  The Old Farmer's Almanac, The Farmer's Almanac, and of course the folks over at the National Weather Service.

The problem is, that they are not always on the same page of what we can expect, and that seems to be the case again this year.

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So what about the NOAA? What are they saying about winter in Montana?  For those who might not know, the NOAA stands for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and according to their data, we can expect something different this year and apparently is all because of "El Nino".

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva

So what is El Nino? According to, El Nino is the following:

"El Niño—the warm phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation ("ENSO") climate pattern—strengthened across the tropical Pacific Ocean in August 2023. Odds that it will last through winter are now higher than 95 percent, and the chance of a strong event is now above 70 percent."

In layman's terms, it looks like this winter is going to be warmer than normal, especially here in Montana.

Credit: NOAA National Weather Service
Credit: NOAA National Weather Service

Not only is the NOAA saying we can expect warmer temperatures, but they're also predicting that we will see less perception as well across most of Montana.

Credit: NOAA National Weather Service
Credit: NOAA National Weather Service

While this might be welcome news to many, keep in mind that Montana relies on winter and snowfall for things like ski season, tourism, as well as a water supply during the summer.

Of course, as we're all aware weather predictions aren't the most accurate of sciences, however, for those who are looking for a winter that doesn't last 9 months, you might be in luck this year.

Here's 8 States That Have Longer And Harsher Winters Than Montana

Winter can be brutal here in Montana with lots of wind, snow, and temperatures well below zero. In fact, that alone should be a word of warning for those thinking of moving here from warmer climates.

A lot goes into being prepared to live in a state with rough winters and if you've never done it before, you certainly need to make sure that you are prepared. You need to make sure you have the right tires, vehicle, and winter clothing. Plus, I would highly suggest you learn how to drive in winter conditions before moving to a state that celebrates winter 6 months out of the year.

And while winters can be very rough here in Montana, we don't even crack the Top 5 for States With The Most Brutal Winters.

Gallery Credit: Derek Wolf

LOOK: The most extreme temperatures in the history of every state

Stacker consulted 2021 data from the NOAA's State Climate Extremes Committee (SCEC) to illustrate the hottest and coldest temperatures ever recorded in each state. Each slide also reveals the all-time highest 24-hour precipitation record and all-time highest 24-hour snowfall.

Keep reading to find out individual state records in alphabetical order.

Gallery Credit: Anuradha Varanasi

LOOK: The most expensive weather and climate disasters in recent decades

Stacker ranked the most expensive climate disasters by the billions since 1980 by the total cost of all damages, adjusted for inflation, based on 2021 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The list starts with Hurricane Sally, which caused $7.3 billion in damages in 2020, and ends with a devastating 2005 hurricane that caused $170 billion in damage and killed at least 1,833 people. Keep reading to discover the 50 of the most expensive climate disasters in recent decades in the U.S.

Gallery Credit: KATELYN LEBOFF

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