Residents of western Montana woke up to a winter wonderland in May on Thursday, and it looks like Mother Nature will be dishing out more such winter weather conditions in the coming days. A long-duration snowstorm is currently underway, and weather forecasters believe that it has the potential to unleash several feet of snow in areas that are at a higher elevation in Montana. Regions in not-so-high elevations will also likely receive a few inches of snow. Meteorologists say that although snow this late is not exactly unheard of, it is still quite unusual.
Winter storm warnings remained in effect for various parts of Montana, as the wintry blast came just days after the region experienced near-record heat with highs that touched the 80s. In comparison, average high temperatures came down by 40-60 degrees from their peak during this week, from Monday to Thursday.
In Helena, Montana, the temperature rose to 86 degrees on Monday, but by Friday, the high is only likely to reach the upper 30s. Heavy snowfall, of course, is really no stranger to the northern Rockies and Montana during May. In fact, the region has even seen snowstorms in June. For instance, the most recent accumulating snow on record in the region was 5.1 inches, which fell on June 12, 1969, in Great Falls, Montana. However, during this period, the coverage of snowstorms usually tends to shrink in size, given that almost perfect conditions are needed to cause accumulating snowfall.
Weather forecasters are expecting snow level with this storm to dip as low as 3,000 feet in certain parts of central Montana. Idaho, southern parts of British Columbia, northwestern Wyoming, and Saskatchewan and Alberta in Canada are also expected to see snow showers.