The BIG Spring Snowstorm That Was & Wasn't

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Posted at 5:31 PM, Apr 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-12 20:08:02-04

A WINTER STORM WARNING continues for much of central and southern Montana.
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY continues for parts of the Hi-Line.
A BLIZZARD WARNING continues for eastern Montana.

This was an incredible snow storm. This was a dud of a snowstorm. I don't think I've had a snowstorm like this with such dramatic differences so close to each other, specifically around the Helena area. While the valley saw little to no snow, just 5-10 miles away there was as much as 24-30" in areas like Rimini, Sheep Mountain and Jefferson City. Snowfall totals across much of central Montana were stunted as well. Why? A very strong high pressure to the north of Montana was pushing in very dry air at the surface. It has been very windy courtesy of the high pressure, and this wind acted like a hair dryer. Snow was falling above us in the sky, but it was evaporating before it reached the ground for most of the lower elevations. Humidity values were in the 30%-50% range, dry enough to evaporate the snow that was falling. That is unless you were in the mountains. Orographic lift helped to overcome the dry air. As air gets lifted up over mountains, it cools and condenses. This is how there was so much snow in the mountains very close to lower elevations that saw little to no snow. Snow showers will continue tonight with a light accumulation of up to a few inches possible. Snow will be heaviest with strong wind across eastern Montana. As of Tuesday afternoon, I-94 east of Billings was shut down because of blizzard conditions. Wednesday will be cloudy with snow showers across most of the state. Highs will be cold again, in the 10s and 20s. An additional inch or so could accumulate through the day. Thursday will be partly to mostly cloudy with a few isolated snow showers. Highs will be in the 20s and 30s. A weak area of low pressure will move into southwest Montana with light snow late in the day. Some of this snow will move across the Continental Divide overnight into Friday morning. Friday will become partly cloudy with a few snow showers over the mountains mainly. Highs will be in the 20s and 30s. Easter Weekend will have continued cold and snowy weather. Another storm system will spread snow from west to east across the state on Saturday. Snow should continue Saturday night into Easter Sunday morning. Several inches are possible. Snow will stop and the clouds should break up through the morning into the afternoon. Highs will warm into the 30s and 40s. Sorry folks, some Easter Egg hunts may need to be indoors. The day will improve weatherwise through the afternoon. Yet another storm is possible toward Tuesday. A mix of rain and snow will bring even more beneficial moisture.
Have a great day.
Curtis Grevenitz
Chief Meteorologist