GREAT FALLS — It's official: the weekend storm that dumped heavy snow across parts of Montana was a record-breaker for some areas, including Great Falls.
The National Weather Service in Great Falls says that 19.3 inches of snow fell in Great Falls during the storm, marking the second-highest two-day snow total ever for any time of year.
In addition, the the 9.6 inches of snow Sunday set a new daily record for September 29th, and is the second-highest ever one-day September snow amount, falling just behind Saturday's 9.7 inches.
The NWS says that the only winter storm to ever produce a higher two-day snow total in Great Falls happened on April 27-28, 2009, when 24.2 inches were measured.
- Parts of Montana blanketed in several feet of snow
- Governor declares winter storm emergency in Montana
But the Great Falls snow totals pale in comparison to the amounts received in some other communities to the north and west. More than three feet of snow has fallen since Friday night in some areas, particularly along the Rocky Mountain Front and in several communities to the east, including Browning, East Glacier, and Heart Butte.
The snowfall numbers are from the National Weather Service, and do not reflect the actual amount of snow that fell in every part of every community. Some areas got more, others got less than the stated official amount. Snowfall totals can differ even just several yards apart, due to drifting, settling, and melting.
For instance, the official tally for Great Falls comes from the weather station near Great Falls International Airport on Gore Hill, which is at a higher elevation than the city of Great Falls. Most people in Great Falls reported receiving between 10 and 12 inches of snow over the weekend.
The record-setting snow prompted Governor Steve Bullock to declare an emergency on Sunday, and the announcement of several school closures for Monday:
- Blackfeet Community College
- Cut Bank
In the emergency declaration, Bullock cited the state's "severe early season storm." The Governor's Office said in a press release the hardest-hit areas are Cascade, Flathead, Glacier, Lake, Lewis & Clark, Lincoln, Pondera, and Teton counties and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. The Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Glacier County, and Pondera County have issued local emergency declarations.