NEIHART – King’s Hill saw this weekend’s predicted snowfall begin to accumulate Friday, as the National Weather Service (NWS) estimates a total of 5 to 10 inches by Sunday.
Existing snowpack at Showdown Ski Area’s highest elevations — the mountain sits approximately 6,476 feet above sea level — was around 22 inches late Friday evening. Approximately 3 to 4 inches had already fallen on King’s Hill Pass by late Friday.
Showdown Ski Area posted to Facebook on Friday to illustrate the severity of conditions even then. Snapshots of the mountain painted a picture of blanketing snow — with no signs of stopping.
“‘April showers bring May flowers?’” Showdown wrote. The ski season officially ended at King’s Hill on April 14.
NWS (Great Falls Office) cautioned via social media Saturday morning that a Blizzard Warning has been issued for most of north-central Montana through Sunday afternoon. NWS warned of hazardous road conditions into the weekend, saying, “Blowing snow [and] whiteout conditions will create poor visibility at times.”
NWS predicts only 2 to 5 inches of lasting precipitation at lower elevations like Great Falls, but wind gusts could reach anywhere from 45 to 60 mph.
“Travel could be very difficult,” NWS advised in the Blizzard Warning issued Saturday. “Widespread blowing snow will create whiteout conditions for several hours. Gusty winds could bring down tree branched and cause power outages.”
NWS specifically cautioned against traveling near King’s Hill Pass.
“A Blizzard Warning means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring,” the advisory continued. “Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely.”
Travel was further identified as “extremely dangerous.”
Download the STORMTracker Weather App for the latest updates on winter weather conditions around Great Falls and the Treasure State.
MTN News and STORMTracker Weather will continue to provide updates on weather conditions, as they are expected to worsen throughout the weekend.
Zahary Schermele – MTN News