A winter storm dropped heavy, wet snow over southern Montana on Monday, burying some areas in several feet of snow and severing tree limbs and electric service for many.
The southernmost counties of Carbon, Park, Stillwater, Big Horn and Sweet Grass were hardest hit Monday, with northeast-facing mountains taking the brunt of the changing season’s beating.
“The pattern we’re in right now is really good for what we call an upslope snow, and it’s really good for the mountains and slopes facing the northeast wind direction,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Solum.
An October storm last year dumped as much as 50 inches in the Beartooth Mountains. By Monday afternoon, Cole Creek near the Red Lodge Mountain Resort had received approximately 40 inches.
Red Lodge itself was blanketed by early morning.
“We’ve been on call from call to call,” said Carbon County Sheriff Tom Rieger. “We’ve got probably about 20 inches, and it’s still snowing.”
In Stillwater County, snowfall in Nye, at an elevation of about 5,000 feet, rose to more than 20 inches. Some slopes in the Bighorn Mountains to the east also had high accumulations, with Tie Creek to the west of Sheridan, Wyo., registering 18 inches by the afternoon.
In many areas, winter’s appearance collided with fall, dumping snow onto overwhelmed tree limbs still heavy with autumn leaves.