Snow is falling across a large portion of Montana today, bringing relief to areas struggling to control multiple wildfires. Some mountain passes could see up to 8” of snow by Saturday, with 12”-18” of snow falling above pass level. The storm will also affect eastern Idaho, western Wyoming and northern Utah.
A statement from National Weather Service in Great Falls said Webcam images across North Central and Soutwest Montana support higher snowfall totals than previously observed. As of 8:30 a.m. MDT on Friday, Sept. 15, Great Falls has recorded 1.40” of precipitation since the event began Wednesday evening, the agency reports.
The latest forecast calls for heavy snow in the mountain passes, which could make driving difficult Friday and Saturday.
Friday morning, the National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning, the first of the season, for elevations above 5500' until noon Saturday. This includes Kings Hill Pass, Flesher Pass, MacDonald Pass, Boulder Hill, Elk Park Pass, and Homestake Pass.
The area is desperate for any moisture at all. Producers in Montana shared photos of devastation from the Montana fires with AgDay.
As of Sept. 14, there were 64 active large fires in the U.S., affecting 1.6 million acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
New numbers from USDA show the cost of fighting wildfires topped $2 billion in 2017, a new record.