First significant winter storm of season dumps 1-2 feet of snow in Montana, North Dakota

Snowfall totals reached two feet in Helena and Corbin, Montana since Tuesday, with 18 inches reported in Emigrant and 17 inches in Cooke City, Montana. The snow is giving way to bone-chilling cold with lows dropping near zero in some spots.

GREAT FALLS, Mont. – While much of the Northern High Plains and Northern Rockies are awash in the colors of autumn leaves, parts of the region have turned white as the season's first major snowstorm moved through. 

Snowfall totals reached two feet in Marysville and Corbin, Montana, with 19.4 inches in Helena and 18 inches reported in Emigrant. 

A three-hour radar loop showing where showers and thunderstorms are ongoing. Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are indicated in yellow. Tornado Warnings are indicated in red, while Tornado Warnings with a confirmed tornado are indicated in purple. Flash Flood Warnings are indicated in green, while Flash Flood Emergencies are indicated in pink.
(FOX Weather)


Great Falls, Montana, went from bare ground to a few inches of snow overnight Tuesday as the first wave of snow moved through, ending up with 9.5 inches total by midnight Friday morning. 

Heavy snow spread into North Dakota, with 14 inches covering the ground in Washburn and a foot of snow in Minot.

Farther west, between 5-6 inches of snow fell across the Cascades Mountain passes in Washington.

Lingering snow showers, then just plain cold

Much of Montana received snow on Thursday but could have a few lingering snow showers into Friday. That is also the case for North Dakota and northern Minnesota as the bands of snow push north into Canada. A few straggling Winter Storm Warnings remain in effect for North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota into Friday morning.

"As this low and trough spins through the Intermountain West, a pretty decent swath of (snow) is expected to continue … Friday," said FOX Weather meteorologist Stephen Morgan. "I-94 and north – that's where we're going to see the heaviest snow."

Because of this, much of the Northern Rockies and High Plains will deal with treacherous travel with snow- and ice-covered roads, gusty winds and low visibility. 


With the first snow of the season, now is the time to ensure your vehicle is winter-ready. Motorists should assemble a winter survival kit and prepare for winter driving conditions, including possible icy roads.


While the snowfall has made driving a bit treacherous, it was a joyful experience for those in Montana, where the early season snowfall allowed Black Labrador puppies to experience snow for the first time.

Frigid temperatures follow the snow

In the wake of the first snow comes a blast of arctic air to send temperatures plummeting. 

Temperatures will be well below average by 20-30 degrees across the Northern Rockies and Northern Plains through the weekend, the FOX Forecast Center said. 

Low temperatures in the teens and single digits will be the norm over much of Montana and into the Northern Plains. 

Cold temperatures in the forecast.
(FOX Weather)


Wind chills may dip below zero at times.

It's possible the snow cover could be sticking around through Halloween weekend, with temperatures remaining below freezing across the region into next week.