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First major winter storm/blizzard ahead this weekend

WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY EVENING THROUGH SUNDAY AFTERNOON... * WHAT...Blizzard conditions possible. Total snow accumulations of 18 to 36 inches, with locally higher amounts in the mountains. Record or near-record cold temperatures in the teens and 20s with wind chills zero to 15 above zero. North to northeast winds 15 to 30 mph with gusts as high as 40 mph. * WHERE...Northern Rockies, Rocky Mountain Front, and adjacent plains of north-central Montana. * WHEN...From Friday evening through Sunday afternoon.

* IMPACTS...Extreme impacts possible, including to power infrastructure including power lines resulting in widespread power outages, agricultural interests; outdoor recreational interests including camping and hunting activities; and travel. Widespread significant tree damage is possible with heavy wet snow and strong winds impacting trees with foliage. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS...This early-season winter storm and/or blizzard has the potential to set a new benchmark for snow accumulations, cold temperatures, and resulting impacts for parts of the Northern Rockies and the Rocky Mountain Front. A similar storm in 1934 produced prolific amounts of snow in late September over north-central Montana. An extension and/or expansion of Winter Storm Watches are likely. * CONFIDENCE...High on accumulations, winds, and expected impacts. There is low to moderate confidence on the timing of onset and end of this winter storm event.

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