Average Weather at Helena Regional Airport Montana, United States
At Helena Regional Airport, the summers are short, warm, and mostly clear; the winters are freezing and partly cloudy; and it is dry year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 14°F to 86°F and is rarely below -6°F or above 95°F.
Based on the tourism score, the best time of year to visit Helena Regional Airport for warm-weather activities is from early July to mid August.
The hot season lasts for 2.8 months, from June 15 to September 9, with an average daily high temperature above 75°F. The hottest day of the year is July 26, with an average high of 86°F and low of 56°F.
The cold season lasts for 3.3 months, from November 17 to February 25, with an average daily high temperature below 42°F. The coldest day of the year is January 1, with an average low of 14°F and high of 31°F.
Average High and Low Temperature
The figure below shows you a compact characterization of the entire year of hourly average temperatures. The horizontal axis is the day of the year, the vertical axis is the hour of the day, and the color is the average temperature for that hour and day.
Average Hourly Temperature
frigid 15°F freezing 32°F very cold 45°F cold 55°F cool 65°F comfortable 75°F warm 85°F hot 95°F sweltering
Kelkit, Turkey (6,197 miles away); Fareydūnshahr, Iran (6,836 miles); and Tagob, Tajikistan (6,540 miles) are the far-away foreign places with temperatures most similar to Helena Regional Airport (view comparison).
At Helena Regional Airport, the average percentage of the sky covered by clouds experiences significant seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The clearer part of the year at Helena Regional Airport begins around June 15 and lasts for 3.7 months, ending around October 6. On July 22, the clearest day of the year, the sky is clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 77% of the time, and overcast or mostly cloudy 23% of the time.
The cloudier part of the year begins around October 6 and lasts for 8.3 months, ending around June 15. On March 18, the cloudiest day of the year, the sky is overcast or mostly cloudy 64% of the time, and clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 36% of the time.
Cloud Cover Categories
0% clear 20% mostly clear 40% partly cloudy 60% mostly cloudy 80% overcast 100%
A wet day is one with at least 0.04 inches of liquid or liquid-equivalent precipitation. The chance of wet days at Helena Regional Airport varies throughout the year.
The wetter season lasts 2.0 months, from May 2 to July 3, with a greater than 22% chance of a given day being a wet day. The chance of a wet day peaks at 36% on June 2.
The drier season lasts 10.0 months, from July 3 to May 2. The smallest chance of a wet day is 7% on February 5.
Among wet days, we distinguish between those that experience rain alone, snow alone, or a mixture of the two. Based on this categorization, the most common form of precipitation at Helena Regional Airport changes throughout the year.
Rain alone is the most common for 9.5 months, from February 17 to December 2. The highest chance of a day with rain alone is 36% on June 2.
Snow alone is the most common for 2.5 months, from December 2 to February 17. The highest chance of a day with snow alone is 6% on December 26.
Daily Chance of Precipitation
To show variation within the months and not just the monthly totals, we show the rainfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day of the year. Helena Regional Airport experiences significant seasonal variation in monthly rainfall.
The rainy period of the year lasts for 7.2 months, from March 21 to October 28, with a sliding 31-day rainfall of at least 0.5 inches. The most rain falls during the 31 days centered around June 1, with an average total accumulation of 2.4 inches.
The rainless period of the year lasts for 4.8 months, from October 28 to March 21. The least rain falls around January 29, with an average total accumulation of 0.1 inches.
Average Monthly Rainfall
We report snowfall in liquid-equivalent terms. The actual depth of new snowfall is typically between 5 and 10 times the liquid-equivalent amount, assuming the ground is frozen. Colder, drier snow tends to be on the higher end of that range and warmer, wetter snow on the lower end.
As with rainfall, we consider the snowfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day of the year. Helena Regional Airport experiences some seasonal variation in monthly liquid-equivalent snowfall.
The snowy period of the year lasts for 5.5 months, from October 29 to April 12, with a sliding 31-day liquid-equivalent snowfall of at least 0.1 inches. The most snow falls during the 31 days centered around December 29, with an average total liquid-equivalent accumulation of 0.3 inches.
The snowless period of the year lasts for 6.5 months, from April 12 to October 29. The least snow falls around July 24, with an average total liquid-equivalent accumulation of 0.0 inches.
Average Liquid-Equivalent Monthly Snowfall
The length of the day at Helena Regional Airport varies significantly over the course of the year. In 2020, the shortest day is December 21, with 8 hours, 34 minutes of daylight; the longest day is June 20, with 15 hours, 50 minutes of daylight.
Hours of Daylight and Twilight
The earliest sunrise is at 5:33 AM on June 15, and the latest sunrise is 2 hours, 38 minutes later at 8:12 AM on January 1. The earliest sunset is at 4:40 PM on December 10, and the latest sunset is 4 hours, 45 minutes later at 9:25 PM on June 25.
Daylight saving time (DST) is observed at Helena Regional Airport during 2020, starting in the spring on March 8, lasting 7.8 months, and ending in the fall on November 1.
Sunrise & Sunset with Twilight and Daylight Saving Time
We base the humidity comfort level on the dew point, as it determines whether perspiration will evaporate from the skin, thereby cooling the body. Lower dew points feel drier and higher dew points feel more humid. Unlike temperature, which typically varies significantly between night and day, dew point tends to change more slowly, so while the temperature may drop at night, a muggy day is typically followed by a muggy night.
The perceived humidity level at Helena Regional Airport, as measured by the percentage of time in which the humidity comfort level is muggy, oppressive, or miserable, does not vary significantly over the course of the year, remaining a virtually constant 0% throughout.
Humidity Comfort Levels
dry 55°F comfortable 60°F humid 65°F muggy 70°F oppressive 75°F miserable
This section discusses the wide-area hourly average wind vector (speed and direction) at 10 meters above the ground. The wind experienced at any given location is highly dependent on local topography and other factors, and instantaneous wind speed and direction vary more widely than hourly averages.
The average hourly wind speed at Helena Regional Airport experiences mild seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The windier part of the year lasts for 7.2 months, from October 6 to May 13, with average wind speeds of more than 6.4 miles per hour. The windiest day of the year is January 17, with an average hourly wind speed of 7.6 miles per hour.
The calmer time of year lasts for 4.8 months, from May 13 to October 6. The calmest day of the year is August 4, with an average hourly wind speed of 5.1 miles per hour.
Average Wind Speed
The predominant average hourly wind direction at Helena Regional Airport is from the west throughout the year.
Best Time of Year to Visit
To characterize how pleasant the weather is at Helena Regional Airport throughout the year, we compute two travel scores.
The tourism score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 65°F and 80°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Helena Regional Airport for general outdoor tourist activities is from early July to mid August, with a peak score in the last week of July.
The beach/pool score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 75°F and 90°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Helena Regional Airport for hot-weather activities is from early July to early August, with a peak score in the last week of July.
For each hour between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM of each day in the analysis period (1980 to 2016), independent scores are computed for perceived temperature, cloud cover, and total precipitation. Those scores are combined into a single hourly composite score, which is then aggregated into days, averaged over all the years in the analysis period, and smoothed.
Our cloud cover score is 10 for fully clear skies, falling linearly to 9 for mostly clear skies, and to 1 for fully overcast skies.
Our precipitation score, which is based on the three-hour precipitation centered on the hour in question, is 10 for no precipitation, falling linearly to 9 for trace precipitation, and to 0 for 0.04 inches of precipitation or more.
Our tourism temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 50°F, rising linearly to 9 for 65°F, to 10 for 75°F, falling linearly to 9 for 80°F, and to 1 for 90°F or hotter.
Our beach/pool temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 65°F, rising linearly to 9 for 75°F, to 10 for 82°F, falling linearly to 9 for 90°F, and to 1 for 100°F or hotter.
Definitions of the growing season vary throughout the world, but for the purposes of this report, we define it as the longest continuous period of non-freezing temperatures (≥ 32°F) in the year (the calendar year in the Northern Hemisphere, or from July 1 until June 30 in the Southern Hemisphere).
The growing season at Helena Regional Airport typically lasts for 4.6 months (142 days), from around May 8 to around September 27, rarely starting before April 20 or after May 30, and rarely ending before September 8 or after October 15.
Time Spent in Various Temperature Bands and the Growing Season
frigid 15°F freezing 32°F very cold 45°F cold 55°F cool 65°F comfortable 75°F warm 85°F hot 95°F sweltering
Growing degree days are a measure of yearly heat accumulation used to predict plant and animal development, and defined as the integral of warmth above a base temperature, discarding any excess above a maximum temperature. In this report, we use a base of 50°F and a cap of 86°F.
Based on growing degree days alone, the first spring blooms at Helena Regional Airport should appear around April 26, only rarely appearing before April 14 or after May 10.
Growing Degree Days
This section discusses the total daily incident shortwave solar energy reaching the surface of the ground over a wide area, taking full account of seasonal variations in the length of the day, the elevation of the Sun above the horizon, and absorption by clouds and other atmospheric constituents. Shortwave radiation includes visible light and ultraviolet radiation.
The average daily incident shortwave solar energy experiences extreme seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The brighter period of the year lasts for 3.1 months, from May 16 to August 20, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter above 6.4 kWh. The brightest day of the year is July 7, with an average of 7.6 kWh.
The darker period of the year lasts for 3.5 months, from October 28 to February 13, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter below 2.6 kWh. The darkest day of the year is December 23, with an average of 1.4 kWh.
Average Daily Incident Shortwave Solar Energy
For the purposes of this report, the geographical coordinates of Helena Regional Airport are 46.607 deg latitude, -111.983 deg longitude, and 3,858 ft elevation.
The topography within 2 miles of Helena Regional Airport contains significant variations in elevation, with a maximum elevation change of 492 feet and an average elevation above sea level of 3,869 feet. Within 10 miles contains significant variations in elevation (2,900 feet). Within 50 miles contains large variations in elevation (6,371 feet).
The area within 2 miles of Helena Regional Airport is covered by grassland (40%), shrubs (28%), cropland (20%), and artificial surfaces (12%), within 10 miles by grassland (35%) and shrubs (27%), and within 50 miles by grassland (29%) and trees (27%).
This report illustrates the typical weather at Helena Regional Airport, based on a statistical analysis of historical hourly weather reports and model reconstructions from January 1, 1980 to December 31, 2016.
Temperature and Dew Point
Helena Regional Airport has a weather station that reported reliably enough during the analysis period that we have included it in our network. When available, historical temperature and dew point measurements are taken directly from this weather station. These records are obtained from NOAA's Integrated Surface Hourly data set, falling back on ICAO METAR records as required.
In the case of missing or erroneous measurements from this station, we fall back on records from nearby stations, adjusted according to typical seasonal and diurnal intra-station differences. For a given day of the year and hour of the day, the fallback station is selected to minimize the prediction error over the years for which there are measurements for both stations.
The stations on which we may fall back are Bert Mooney Airport, Great Falls International Airport, Gallatin Field Airport, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Dillon Airport, Mission Field, and Lewistown Municipal Airport.
All data relating to the Sun's position (e.g., sunrise and sunset) are computed using astronomical formulas from the book, Astronomical Algorithms 2nd Edition , by Jean Meeus.
All other weather data, including cloud cover, precipitation, wind speed and direction, and solar flux, come from NASA's MERRA-2 Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis . This reanalysis combines a variety of wide-area measurements in a state-of-the-art global meteorological model to reconstruct the hourly history of weather throughout the world on a 50-kilometer grid.
Land Use data comes from the Global Land Cover SHARE database , published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Elevation data comes from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) , published by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Names, locations, and time zones of places and some airports come from the GeoNames Geographical Database .
Time zones for aiports and weather stations are provided by AskGeo.com .
Maps are © Esri, with data from National Geographic, Esri, DeLorme, NAVTEQ, UNEP-WCMC, USGS, NASA, ESA, METI, NRCAN, GEBCO, NOAA, and iPC.
The information on this site is provided as is, without any assurances as to its accuracy or suitability for any purpose. Weather data is prone to errors, outages, and other defects. We assume no responsibility for any decisions made on the basis of the content presented on this site.
We draw particular cautious attention to our reliance on the MERRA-2 model-based reconstructions for a number of important data series. While having the tremendous advantages of temporal and spatial completeness, these reconstructions: (1) are based on computer models that may have model-based errors, (2) are coarsely sampled on a 50 km grid and are therefore unable to reconstruct the local variations of many microclimates, and (3) have particular difficulty with the weather in some coastal areas, especially small islands.
We further caution that our travel scores are only as good as the data that underpin them, that weather conditions at any given location and time are unpredictable and variable, and that the definition of the scores reflects a particular set of preferences that may not agree with those of any particular reader.