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    Powerful Late-October Storm Blasts Northern Rockies

    By By Alex Sosnowski, expert senior meteorologist.
    October 29, 2013, 1:01:13 AM EDT

    A powerful late-October storm dipped out of Canada and blasted through the northern Rockies on Monday, bringing wild weather to the region.

    Weather reports from Monday covered just about the entire weather spectrum. Heavy snow, gusty winds, freezing rain, dust storms, and a funnel cloud were all reported as this storm spun through.

    Heavy snow blanketed portions of Montana on Sunday night through Monday as the storm slid out of Canada and into the U.S. Winds became gusty as well. The combination of heavy snowfall and strong winds forced blizzard conditions on some folks.


    In Butte, Mont., white-out conditions brought on several car crashes. Wind-driven snow lowered visibility to dangerous levels for motorists and made it nearly impossible to see for extended periods of the day.

    Heavy snowfall rates brought on hefty accumulations. Jefferson County, Mont., received a total of 11.8 inches of snow through Monday evening.

    Snow wasn't just confined to Montana, however. Snowfall reports extended to Idaho, Nevada, and across the Sierra Nevada in California.

    The Sugarbowl Ski Resort at Donner Peak, Calif., was buried with 15 inches of snow. A trained spotter in Ponderosa, Calif., reported about 8 inches of snow, while Gilmore, Idaho, was blanketed with 9 inches, according to the Dept. of Highways. Carson City got in on the action as well, accumulating a total of 5 inches, as reported by a trained spotter.

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    Even without the snow, gusty winds proved to be a problem. Strong winds picked up dust across Idaho and California, producing dust storms and brown-out conditions. Blowing dust resulted in a five-car pileup on I-15 in San Bernardino County, Calif.

    Fierce winds also toppled trees and brought down power lines in many areas including Nevada. Power outages were widespread across the state. Winds gusted between 50 to 70 mph across Utah, Colorado, Nevada and California. However, a 71-mph wind gust was reported at the airport in Cedar City, Utah.

    As this storm rapidly dove into the U.S., it rode a push of cold air moving out of Canada, which slashed temperatures by 20 to 40 degrees. Great Falls, Mont., experienced a large temperature swing. The high on Sunday reached 57, while the high on Monday only reached 23.

    Rain fell in some states and with these below-freezing surface temperatures, the rain turned into an icy glaze on surfaces.

    Freezing rain near Cheyenne, Wyo., on Monday afternoon, reportedly caused wet road conditions, according to an NWS employee. It also accumulated on trees and other surfaces.

    A funnel cloud was also sighted near Fresno, Calif., adding to the large spectrum of weather that the storm brought.

    This storm system is not done however. A band of nuisance snow and a wintry mix will streak across more of the Rockies and northern Plains through Tuesday. Heavy accumulations can be expected across the higher elevations in Wyoming.


    It will also be responsible for kicking up strong winds across the Desert Southwest, returning snow to the highest elevations of California, Utah and Colorado, and sparking strong thunderstorms over the southern and central Plains and Texas through Tuesday.

    AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski and Meteorologist Jordan Root contributed to the content of this story.

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