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September snowstorm, blizzard to dump feet of snow in West

While the eastern half of the country basks in warm to downright scorching temperatures this weekend, parts of the West will see snow. And some will see a lot of it.

An unusually cold and active period will support accumulating snow across parts of Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. The heaviest of the snow will likely fall across the higher elevation areas of northern Washington, Idaho and much of Montana.

That is where Winter Storm Watches and Winter Storm Warnings have already been issued by the National Weather Service.

By early next week, widespread snow totals of 6-10" are expected in parts of Washington, Idaho and Montana. That includes larger population areas like Helena, Butte, Great Falls, and Havre in Montana. 

The higher terrain of Washington, Idaho and Montana could see upwards of 12-18" of snow with parts of North Central Montana expected to see 3-4 feet of the white stuff! 

According to the National Weather Service in Missoula, here are the potential threats where the heaviest snow falls:

  • Hazardous to impossible travel
  • Life-threatening backcountry conditions
  • Downed trees and power lines
  • Wind damage and agricultural damage 

While September snow in both the low and high terrain of the Rocky Mountains is not all that rare, a storm of this magnitude is.

Here's the strong wording used by the NWS in Great Falls to describe the impending winter storm:

"This early season winter storm and/or blizzard has the potential to set a new benchmark for snow accumulations, cold temperatures, and resulting impacts for parts of the Northern Rockies and the Rocky Mountain Front."

The storm could wind up being record-breaking and historical once all is said and done. 

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