Montana is under emergency conditions after an intense winter storm dumped record amounts of snow along with a life-threatening combination of bitter cold and stiff winds. In the town of Browning, 48 inches of snow fell from Friday to Sunday, the National Weather Service says.
Despite coming in late September, the 19.3 inches of snow that just fell over two days in Great Falls is second to only one other two-day total in the city — in any month. The only time the city recorded more snow in two days was during a winter storm more than 10 years ago.
Montana bore the brunt of a strong winter system that brought snow across the northern Rocky Mountains and parts of Idaho and Washington.
Winds were gusting at 30-35 mph late Sunday in hard-hit areas such as Browning, according to meteorologist Megan Syner of the NWS office in Great Falls, who says the massive snowfall and strong winds “created drifts almost as high as some houses in that area.”
Emergency crews are busy trying to keep routes clear, and utility crews are working to turn power back on in areas where strong winds downed trees and power lines, especially near and along the Rocky Mountain Front.