A historic and long-duration snowstorm is set to unleash feet of powder on the higher elevations of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington state this week, with unprecedented inches settling at lower-elevations, too.
AccuWeather meteorologists say that snowfall of this volume over such an extensive area is highly unusual.
Daily high temperatures have plummeted a whopping 40-60 degrees Fahrenheit from their Monday peak, and could tumble even further as the weekend approaches:
Below is a look at the temperature anomalies expected across the western United States on Saturday.
The departures look set to plunge 20 degrees Celsius below the norm across vast regions.
Winter storm watches began in parts of Montana on Tuesday in anticipation of the rare late-season storm.
In Great Falls, for example, the average last snow date (of 0.1 inches+) is May 10 — the forecast for this week sees as much as 8+ inches falling as late as May 21/22.
“[This] it is not a very common event,” says senior Accuweather meteorologist Brian Wimer, in the understatement of the year.
Since 1920, there have only been five years with storms delivering 8+ inches to Great Falls: “The biggest of these storms spanned May 28-29, 1989, and that system brought 11.6 inches of snow to the city,” continues Wimer; “the other years with storms that brought 8 inches or more of snow during May in the city were in 1956, 1967, 1983 and 2000.”
This will not only be a “whopper of a snowstorm,” but will also be a large one in terms of overall coverage of accumulating snow.
As explained by AccuWeather’s Brett Anderson, “Snow levels with this storm are likely to dip as low as 3,000 feet in parts of central Montana as the combination of fresh cold air moving in and the action of wind blowing uphill and squeezing out moisture will make for a substantial snowfall.”
Accumulating snow is expected to fall on an area more than 70,000 square miles in central and western Montana alone from Wednesday to Saturday:
Also note that vast portions of Idaho and Wyoming are set to receive substantial accumulations.
Rare late-season inches are even expected on the Cascades of Washington and Oregon into Thursday, stretching all the way down through the Sierras.
And looking north of the border, and into Canada, large parts of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan are also on for impressive totals through the remainder of the month:
This is late-May that we’re headed into.
This extreme freeze event cannot be explained by the nonsensical umbrella term “climate change.” No, the prevalence of Arctic air funneling down from the Arctic is due to low solar activity–namely its weakening of the jet streams.
This week’s monster of a storm will likely join the ranks of the top 10 greatest impact snowfalls for the region of all-time, according to AccuWeather forecasters. As they explain: the NWS ranks snowstorms on a scale called MontSIS, which takes into accounts snowstorms that unleash more than 7 inches and factors in the area impacted.
For comparison, the May 9-13, 1983, storm that dropped up to 35 inches of snow is ranked 11th of all-time for the state, according to the National Weather Service in Great Falls.
“This will be a long-duration snowstorm for the northern Rockies with the heaviest snow in central and western Montana likely to fall from Wednesday evening to Thursday evening,” Anderson said.
“During this period, snowfall rates of 1-3 inches per hour are highly probable just east of the Continental Divide. The heaviest snowfall is likely to be in the Glacier National Park area of Montana, with 2-3 feet likely in the higher elevations of the park and locally greater amounts possible,” added Anderson.
Laughably, this is the same Glacier National Park that prophesied that its glaciers would be gone by 2020 due to catastrophic global warming (see link below), and here we are, in May 2021, with feet of snow in the forecast.
Heavy snow is also expected over the higher elevations of Yellowstone National Park in northwestern Wyoming.
“These parks are popular tourist destinations and people planning on venturing into area could be turned away or possibly face the risk of being stranded,” continued Anderson.
“The heavy and wet nature of the snow from this storm is likely to lead to breaking branches and falling trees, and when that occurs there is the likelihood of power outages,” Anderson warned.
IMPACT ON FARMERS
Farmers are working hard to try and prevent these late-May frost from further damaging crops.
“I reached out to a couple farmers, they are concerned for sure,” said Larry Davis, a director at the Ontario Federation of Agriculture for Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk.
“The farmers have been planting sweet corn covered under plastic, the frost will slow it down but it won’t kill it.”
Davis explains that it is crucial that crops are planted at the proper time so they can be ready for harvest. However, this has become a challenging process with the temperature swings of late: “I’ve been around for many years and this is not normal,” Davis says.
With spring being a transitional season, temperature fluctuations are to be expected; however, what we’re seeing this May is something else.
Environment Canada meteorologist Gerald Cheng said the Norfolk region of Ontario is on for its the coldest May since 1967. Back then, average temp was 9.2 degrees Celsius. To date, May 2021 has had an average temperature of 9.5 C, with around two weeks left of anomalous cold.
“Right now, we are looking at the lowest seasonal temperatures, it’s been like that since the 5th,” said Cheng.
Looking ahead, unpredictable swings are set to continue for the remainder of the month.
Below is the outlook for May 26:
Prepare — grow your own.