It’s been one week since one of the hottest summers the planet has ever seen ended. What better way to celebrate the end of one extremely hot season than with a historically early snowstorm hitting the West? California, Oregon, Montana, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah we’re all hit with record breaking low temperatures, extreme winds, heavy snowfall, and overall intense blizzard conditions. So much so that parts of Montana have already given their kids their first snow day of the school year less than a month after school came back into session.
“Many daily record low maximum temperature records are possible through Tuesday, especially across the Northern Great Basin, Rockies, and Northern California, where we’re already seeing temperatures hit 30 degrees lower than their normal average for this time of year” according to the National Weather Service.
The extreme weather began on Saturday the 28th and continued into Monday the 30th. Power Lines and large trees were knocked down all over the west states, closing multiple main roads and delaying many individual’s Monday morning commutes, a delay they weren’t expecting for at least another month. The National Weather Service reported that while September snowfall is not that uncommon for many of these areas, the massive volume of snow is, especially in areas with lower elevations and altitudes. For example, the town of Great Falls, Montana averages 1-2 inches of snow every September and by this past Sunday they reached 19 inches, breaking the town record that was held for nearly 70 years!
Montana in general saw the worst of the early storms. The town of Browning, Montana saw the worst of it country wide, some areas receiving up to 48 inches, prompting all school districts to shut down for the day. Dupuyer, 40 miles southeast of Browning, saw 37 inches of snow. Dan Pydynowski, a senior meteorologist for Accuweather, in an interview with USA Today, said that “less populated areas all throughout Montana doubtlessly were slammed with more than 4 feet of snow, but it just won’t ever be officially measured.”
Montana’s Governor Steve Bullock declared an official winter storm emergency for the state through until Tuesday, as the state along with Northern California, Nevada, and Colorado, is still expected to reach record breaking low temperatures through Monday night and into Tuesday morning. Browning School Districts are already debating cancelling classes for Tuesday the 1st because of how severe the weather continues to be, some areas in the town/state as a whole have been left without power and cell service due to downed power lines across the state.
According to information from the National Weather Service also given to USA Today, “more than a foot of snow fell in parts of northeastern Washington. Spokane, Washington got much less, but it was the city’s first recorded September snowfall since 1926! Temperatures are forecast to dip below freezing by Monday Night, into Tuesday morning. This is prompting a huge expansion of the city’s homeless shelter capacity. In Oregon we reported wind damage from gusts up to 55 miles per hour in Portland, where hail was also reported. The Cascade Mountains also got up to 10 inches of snowfall.”
Experts are urging families to stay indoors and not use their vehicles unless the area they’re in hasn’t been hit that severely, as the conditions are expected to continue for the next 24 hours.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.