Record Early Snowstorm Whacks Northern Rockies

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — Areas of the northern Rocky Mountains looked like midwinter rather than early fall Sunday as a snowstorm dumped record amounts of wind-driven snow that caused hazardous travel conditions and power outages.

Snow covers a street lined with trees that still have their leaves on Sunday in Helena, Montana. (AP photo/Matt Volz)

Winter storm warnings were posted for parts of western Montana, northern Idaho and northeast Washington. Snow also was forecast for areas in Wyoming, Utah, Oregon, Nevada and California.

The brunt of the storm hit Montana, where up to 2 feet of snow fell Saturday in the mountains and a record 14 inches in Great Falls, with snow still falling Sunday.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock declared an emergency Sunday, allowing the state to mobilize resources to help affected areas.

“With an unprecedented winter storm throwing our state a surprise in September, state and local governments are working closely together to protect the health and safety of Montanans and our top priority is making sure that happens,” Bullock said in a statement. “Montanans should heed all warnings from state and local officials, travel safely, and be cautious during this time.”

Major interstates and highways remained open, but snow and ice covered many stretches of roads in western Montana.

The storm was expected to wind down late Sunday and early Monday.

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