September snow storms like the one north central Montana just endured was a bit of a shock–even for longtime residents.
Schools in Valier, Cut Bank, Shelby, Browning and East Glacier were closed on Monday due to the storm but classes resumed on Tuesday.
According to an update from the Pondera County Disaster and Emergency Services office, the County Road Department had the bus routes clear and were continuing to work on roads throughout the county. As of Monday afternoon, areas by Swift Dam and Dupuyer “still need assistance.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration supplied these data points on Monday, detailing local snow accumulations.
The highest amount reported was 52 inches at Babb, with four feet at Browning and 46 inches at Badger Pass, and from a spotter 17 miles west-southwest of Bynum. Great Falls set a one-day (24-hr) snowfall record of 17.7 inches. This fell between 11 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday. The previous 24-hour record was 16.8 inches on April 20, 1973.
It was estimated that East Glacier received 36 inches and Cut Bank was hit with 14 inches. Many residents claimed the blowing and drifting snow made for drifts well above the three-feet mark throughout Glacier and Pondera Counties.
Governor Steve Bullock issued an executive order declaring an emergency in Montana due to a severe early season storm.
Unseasonably cold temperatures will delay snowmelt in some areas and bring the end of the growing season for some agricultural producers. The storm also has the potential to cause flooding in Montana.
“We were fortunate to receive several days of notice from the National Weather Service – which did a good job predicting the size and magnitude of this storm,” said Governor Bullock.