By DAVID MURRARY
Great Falls Tribune
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — Montana is experiencing its 4th driest year on record as an extended drought blankets much of the state. Every county in the state experienced some level of drought this year. The Great Falls Tribune reports the state is on average almost five inches behind in annual precipitation. The only years that have been drier were 1931, 1919 and 1952. Other recent dry years experienced late-season rains that blunted drought impacts. This year has been different and has the potential to be more damaging. State officials say fall was extremely dry, continuing a drought that began in parts of Montana in summer 2020.