National Weather Service Making Changes As Snow Piles Up - News, Sports and Weather

National Weather Service Making Changes As Snow Piles Up

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If you haven't been outside today, opened up your front door, or even looked out your window, I'm going to fill you in on a little secret.  It's snowing across Big Sky Country and as we move throughout the rest of the day, this white stuff is going to continue to pile up.

"For the rest of today, Monday as we're talking, what we're going to see is the storm is going to start to wind down across portions of Central Montana.  It began last night with some sleet across the area.  The roads became pretty icy overnight.  A lot of accidents," said Chris Foltz, a National Weather Service Meteorologist.

So the main questions become, where is the most snow falling and how much has accumulated?

"For the most part it's been along the Rocky Mountain Front, west of Great Falls.  We've seen anywhere of up to twelve inches of snow in some locations up in the higher terrain.  On the plains, in Great Falls, we've had somewhere around three inches of snow so far, a little perhaps.  As of 6:00 AM this morning we'd received 2.3 inches of snow and we do expect another inch or two to fall throughout the rest of the day," said Foltz.

As you trudged your way to the car and started brushing and scraping your windshield, you may be wondering if this is a little early for snow. 

"About the middle part of November is when we see the first three inch snowfall on average, but some years it's been much earlier than this.  Back in the 90's, we had a year where we had nine inches of snow in August here in Great Falls, so it can certainly happen anytime from late August on," said Foltz.

Along with snow, watches and warnings can be issued and the National Weather Service is working to clear up anything that may be a bit fuzzy with the wording.

"There's a lot of confusion, we found out over the years, that folks have with terms like watch, warning and advisory.  Which is the worst?  Which is the least bad?  And so we're really doing some research and we're kind of running some experimental set-ups to where we can get a better understanding about what folks want us to do as far as the wording, if they want you to change it at all.  There is an option for a survey.  We're going to promote this again on our website,, and we'll put a link up there where folks can go and provide their feedback and their input, so the public is more than welcome to and we would like them to," said Foltz.

So stay warm, stay safe and give the weather service a little help.

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