An anomalously strong winter storm is set to hit the Northern Rockies this weekend. Snow in this area of the country during this time of the year is not strange but the fact that numerous areas are bracing for FEET of snow, that’s strange. Great Falls and Helena, Montana typical see just over an inch of snow on average for the month of September but they are expecting upwards of a half a foot or more by the end of the weekend.
Travel in the mountains and mountain passes will be extremely difficult if possible at all. Coupled with the heavy, wet snow will be gusty winds. Winds will gust anywhere from 30 mph to 70 mph depending on where you are at. That will make visibility extremely low. Travel is not advised.
This storm system is diving down from British Colombia and will be strengthening over the Northern and Central Rockies. Most mountain locations will feel the chill because of the storm but areas in Colorado and New Mexico will be missing out on the cold and will actually see temperatures rise above normal.
Snow is not going to be hard to come by no matter where you go in the West. Except for Colorado and New Mexico. This storm will bring fresh snow to most ski resorts which will be a great pre-season base to work off of. Montana is clearly the front runner here with feet of snow expected but areas in Wyoming, like near Jackson Hole, will see some very impressive snow which will give them a head start to this winter season. Areas in California will see a few inches of snowmaking the excitement grow for those ski areas. Utah is looking to benefit from this as well with the Wasatch and Uinta mountains picking up a few inches of snow. While Colorado is largely missing this storm, there will be the possibility of a few flakes and a light dusting on some of the peaks but for the most part, Colorado shouldn’t get their hopes up for anything big.
Andy is Colorado Ski Country’s Communication Coordinator. He is also a trained meteorologist with over 6 years of experience working most recently as a broadcast meteorologist.