The Flathead’s climate is akin to Camelot. For its elevation (2,959 feet) and latitude (near the 49th parallel), Kalispell enjoys a relatively mild climate: glorious summers with warm days and cool nights and little humidity; golden autumn days turning crisp by late October; winters made for skiing, snowboarding, snowcatting and ice fishing; and springs with daffodils dusting the valley while fresh snow dusts the surrounding peaks – an extraordinary season when you can ski and golf – in the same day!
High mountains to the east and west protect us from harsh extremes. The valley’s many lakes and rivers also tend to moderate temperatures winter and summer. The weather ranges from moderately dry summers with typical daytime Fahrenheit temperatures in the 80s, Indian Summer days in the early fall, and moderately wet winters and spring. Daytime winter temperatures are in the 20s and 30s, with plenty of snow for winter recreating.
While the Flathead Valley floor averages about 3,000 feet, the highest mountain peaks rise to more than 10,000 feet above sea level. As the elevation increases, so does precipitation: from 16 inches on the valley floor to 100 inches on the peaks.
While ferocious storms can buffet the mountaintops, winds are usually gentle in the valley – although robust afternoon breezes are not uncommon, and occasional sudden gusty winds can blow on Flathead Lake. Microclimates across the valley permit crops here that are not commonly grown elsewhere along the Rocky Mountains. The growing season ranges from 104 to 129 days, depending on location.
Average Precipitation – 15.3 inches (1948-2006)
Annual snowfall – 53.5 inches
Growing season – 97 days
Sunny weather – 70 days w 3/10ths
Partly cloudy weather – 81 days
Cloudy weather – 214 with 4/5ths days and more of the sky covered
Fog – 33 days with visibility of 1/4 mile or less
Driest Year – 10.42 inches in 1944
Wettest Year – 25.23 inches in 1996
Most Snowfall – 148.8 inches in 1996
Record High – 105, Aug. 4, 1961
Record Low – minus 38, Jan. 30-31, 1950