First Significant Snow for Rockies, Northwest

By Courtney Spamer, Meteorologist
September 26, 2013; 10:56 AM
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Play video Click the above video for a more detailed Northwest forecast.

Cold air will continue to plunge across the Rockies allowing for snow into Friday in some areas, perhaps foreshadowing things to come in winter.

A cold front swept the Northwest for the early part of the week, starting off fall on a chillier note.

The cool air mixed with Pacific moisture produced the first significant snowfall of the season across parts of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado.

The lower valleys were too warm to receive snow, but elevations from about 4,000 feet and higher will saw snowflakes with accumulating snow beginning around 5,000 feet.

Snowfall at this level could cause some travel delays across the area with slick, slushy roadways in the high passes.

The higher elevations in the Teton and Bitterroot ranges picked up a general 6 to 12 inches of snow through Thursday, which included part of Yellowstone National Park and Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. However, a few spots picked up even more.

The above image is a camera provided by the Wyoming State Department of Transportation, showing snow falling on US 26 near Wind River Lake, Wyoming on Wednesday morning.

The snow settled farther to the south and east during Thursday night and Friday, reaching central Wyoming and western Colorado.

The first potent storm of the season from the Pacific Ocean with wind and waves will likely strike the British Columbia, Washington and Oregon coasts Saturday into Monday.

After some days with highs in the upper 80s in the middle of September, this cool shot will seem like a drastic change. Although temperatures will be slightly below average, snow this time of year in the northern Rockies is not that uncommon.

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AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist and Long Range Expert Paul Pastelok commented that "it's usual for them to get snow this time of year, assuming that the pattern also allows moisture."

Furthermore, Pastelok implied that more of the white stuff could be on the way for fall, with a snowy period expected into October.

"This is the start of what could be a colder and snowier winter, especially for Montana," Pastelok said.

The official AccuWeather.com 2013-2014 winter forecast will be released in early October.

Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski contributed content to this story.

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