Dangerously cold weather in the forecast for south central Montana

ROV-snow-2

ROV-snow-2

What are the chances of a white Christmas this year?

We may have witnessed one of the most prolific Christmas snowstorms on record in the U.S. Two and a half inches fell this week, lifting all burn bans.

"It's going to be bitterly cold, there's no doubt about that", said the National Weather Service's Andrew Paul, who predicted that high temperatures in the area would be running almost 30 degrees below normal. It's headed for the East Coast Sunday night to dump more through midday on Christmas. It does happen about once every eight years, based on statistics from the weather service.

There's a "snow emergency" declaration in effect, but somehow that doesn't quite convey the enormity of Erie's Christmas Day storm.

"The air mass is borderline cold enough for snow", the Weather Service said in a statement.

It was even noticeably snowy in Washington state and OR on Christmas Day, a rarity that's only occured a handful of times since the 1880s, according to the National Weather Service.

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The next measurable snowfall wouldn't occur again until 2008, but it wasn't on Christmas Day; it was on December 11. "You always want a white Christmas, so it's nice".

UPDATE, 11 p.m.: A band of lake effect snow will continue to affect southern Wyoming, southern Livingston, northern Cattaraugus, southeastern Erie, central Chautauqua, northern Allegany and southwestern Ontario. The snow stayed on the ground for several days. Even with over two dozen snow plows attempting to clear the roads overnight, conditions were still extremely treacherous on Tuesday morning. The most recent Christmas Day snowfall in New Orleans was pre-Katrina: in 2004. She said they cleared the snow off of her in-laws' vehicle Monday night, but it's already covered in snow again. "Snow rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour should be expected at mountain passes such as Lookout, Lolo, Lost Trail and possibly Marias pass early Friday morning through Friday afternoon".

Here at The Herald-Dispatch, we're a little like the U.S. Postal Service - neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom keeps us from the news.

Between eight to ten inches of snow fell in extreme southwest MI and northwest Indiana. Snow accumulation around an inch possible. "For western Montana, anywhere from 1 to 4 inches are expected". Instead, one of the largest ice storms in the state's history spread over the region and shut down Arkansas for the rest of the year.

The storm started Christmas Eve and has since shattered state and local records.

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