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Heavy, wet September snow set to plaster northern US

Blizzard conditions could impact Northwest US and southern Canada over the weekend, dumping snow as temperatures plunge.

AccuWeather Global Weather Center – September 27, 2019 – The calendar is barely a week into fall, but winter storm watches and warnings are up in four states as a potential blizzard threatens to deliver an early wintry blast.

A potentially ‘historic’ snowstorm will unleash heavy and wet snow, tropical-storm-force winds and bitter cold in the Northwest and southern Canada — and meteorologists say the timing of this storm will add to the dangers. The heavy and wet nature of the early-season snow will threaten to weigh down tree limbs that are still covered in changing foliage.

Subfreezing air has already plunged into the region from the Canadian Arctic on Friday morning, laying the ground for the winter-like storm, according to the Great Falls, Montana, national Weather Service (NWS) office.

The NWS warned that the early snowfall and cold to follow has the potential to be “historic.” The agency also emphasized life-threatening conditions expected in the backcountry and damaging winds that could add to the damage to trees and power lines.

Combine harvesting

AccuWeather spoke with Rebecca Connors, public information officer for the City of Helena Public Works, in anticipation of the early snowstorm.

“It’s Montana, and this is kind of the characteristic of Montana, freak snowstorms. Our seasons are short except for winter,” Connors told AccuWeather.

Montana crews are gearing up for the disruptive snowfall and preparing for the challenges an early-season storm presents, David Knoepke, transportation systems director for the City of Helena, said in an interview with AccuWeather.

“We’ll have to build up all of our snowplow trucks. We’re starting that today [Wednesday] into the weekend. It is a little bit earlier than typical, but not uncommon,” Knoepke told AccuWeather. “Our snow policy, strategy is that we’ll get the emergency snow routes done first and then go onto the rest of our priority routes and make sure that everything is sanded and cleared as appropriate to make travel safe.”

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