One week after summer’s end, a “winter” storm began blasting parts of the West with up to 3 feet of snow, smashing records with low temperatures, heavy snow, strong winds and blizzard conditions forecast into Monday.
Snow was piling up across parts of California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Nevada and Utah. The National Weather Service, calling the storm “historic,” said temperatures in some areas would drop as much as 30 degrees below normal.
“Many daily record low maximum temperature records are possible through Monday, especially across the Northern Great Basin, Rockies and Northern California,” the weather service said.
“An unprecedented winter storm (is) throwing our state a surprise in September,” said Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who declared a winter storm emergency in his state.
High winds downed trees and power lines, temporarily closing some roads and triggering cellular and power outages. The town of Browning, near Glacier National Park, recorded 40 inches of snow Sunday.
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And it was still snowing. Some areas near the park could see an astonishing 4 feet before the storm wraps up Monday, AccuWeather senior meteorologist Dan Pydynowski told USA TODAY.
“You have higher terrain where you will never know how much snow fell because there is no one there to measure it,” Pydynowski said. “There will be areas over 4 feet, measured or not.”
Pydynowski said September snow in parts of the USA isn’t that unusual, but the amount of snow at relatively low elevations is.
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Great Falls, Montana, which averages 1.2 inches of snow in September, was at 16 inches and counting Sunday. The 9.7 inches of snow recorded Saturday broke a record for the day that stood for 65 years.
More than a foot of snow fell in parts of northeastern Washington. Spokane got much less, but it was the city’s first recorded September snow since 1926. Temperatures forecast to dip below freezing by Monday night prompted expansion of the city’s homeless shelter capacity.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Snow from ‘historic’ storm smashes records in West
In Oregon, the National Weather Service reported wind damage from gusts of up to 55 mph in Portland, where hail was reported. The Cascade Mountains got up to 10 inches of snow.
“It’s a winter wonderland up in the Cascades,” the weather service’s Portland office tweeted. “Pictures are worth a 1,000 words, but reports are even better!”