Historic Winter Storm to Impact the Northern Rockies & Northwest

Tuesday, 01 Oct, 2019

"Widespread significant tree damage is possible with the heavy, wet snow and strong winds impacting trees with foliage".

Temperatures will gradually begin to cool with highs in the 40s and 50s across northwestern Montana by Friday, lows in the mid-20s to mid-30s.

Places like Great Falls, Montana could be shoveling more than a foot of snow.

"You have to go back to the 1930s before you find another storm like this, this early in the season", said Josh Weiss, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's (NWS) Weather Prediction Center. The city of Great Falls saw 9.6 inches of snow on Sunday - a record for the date of September 29.

You can see the latest video report from the U.S. National Weather Service - Great Falls on the impending storm system below.

A National Weather Service map from September 27 shows the forecast for Montana. Extreme caution should be used if driving a high profile vehicle today, especially along the Rocky Mountain Front.

And by Saturday morning Choteau, Montana, was experiencing downed trees and power lines, making it risky for people on the road, according to CNN affiliate KRTV.

In Missoula, which has not received snow in September since 1983, state Department of Transportation officials were preparing snowplows and sanding trucks and putting up "watch for ice on bridge" signs, maintenance chief Steve Felix told the Missoulian. It may amount to as much as 30 inches in lower elevations, but the mountains could see three to five feet.

Widespread rain is also expected with the passage of today's cold front and snow is likely above 7,000 feet.

The National Weather Service in Great Falls reports almost a foot (28 centimeters) of snow had fallen near Marias Pass just south of Glacier National Park by midmorning Saturday.

Stay tuned for more updates from your STORMTracker weather team.

NWS forecast confidence is high at this time regarding snowfall accumulations, wind strength and expected impacts.

Wind gusts as high as 55 miles per hour are possible and visibility is near or below a quarter mile, the weather service said. Look for updates on the FreightWaves social media accounts.