The summer solstice is just under two weeks away, and yet parts of the northern Rockies resemble a scene out of winter on Monday.
The National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Prediction Center (WPC) said heavy snow has developed across parts of Montana, Idaho, and Utah.
Forecasters said an “anomalously cold and vigorous upper trough for early June,” is swinging through the western U.S and northern Plains, bringing the threat for severe weather.
In the northern regions, the storm system is bringing accumulating snow.
“Some of the higher elevations of southwest Montana into the Yellowstone National Park could see heavy snow today before the snow tapers off by tonight,” the WPC said. “The snow will spread into the higher elevations of the central Rockies as well.”
In Utah, UDOT snowplows were dispatched to both Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, where several inches of snow have fallen causing some pretty big rocks to come down.
Meanwhile, in Wyoming, crews are also at work:
I-80 between Laramie and Chey., WYO 210 (Happy Jack Rd.) & U.S. 287 south of Laramie are all closed this a.m. due to wintry conditions. Estimated opening time is in 1-3 hours. Maintenance crews reported up to a foot of snow in some high elevation areas like the Summit #wyoroad pic.twitter.com/ZsQrcN2b8E— WYDOT District 1 (@wydot1) June 9, 2020
Winter weather advisories have been posted throughout the region, where up to 7 inches of snow could fall. Some residents reported seeing a foot of fresh powder.
The NWS Great Falls forecast office said moderate to heavy snow is expected in locations above 5,000 feet.
8:30 AM Monday, June 8th, 2020 Weather Update – A strong storm system moving across the Northern Rockies continues to produce moderate to at times heavy snow above 5000 feet, especially over Elk Park, Homestake, and Big Hole Passes. #mtwx pic.twitter.com/9ZCTkHYQTp— NWS Great Falls (@NWSGreatFalls) June 8, 2020
Motorists in the area can expect slushy and snow-covered roads, visibilities to less than a half-mile.
“If you are traveling over mountain passes, be prepared for winter driving conditions and reduced visibility,” the NWS said.
Be prepared for winter driving conditions above 5000 feet. Along with slushy and snow covered roads, visibilities could fall to as low as ½ mile. In addition to impacts to travel, the heavy, wet nature of the snow could cause vegetation with foliage to break. #mtwx pic.twitter.com/xiPkVXBZUP— NWS Great Falls (@NWSGreatFalls) June 8, 2020
Portions of central and southwest Montana reported power outages due to the heavy, wet snow, MontanaRightNow reported.
This wet, heavy June snow is causing power outages, as well as sagging and downed power lines. If you see a downed line, do not approach it and report it immediately by calling 888-467-2669. pic.twitter.com/CqH4voQnfa— NorthWestern Energy (@NWEinfo) June 8, 2020
Forecasters say snow in the region is highly unusual for June and that people who may be camping are probably not prepared for such conditions. Frozen precipitation typically ends in May across the region.
Wind chills as low as the teens are expected on Monday for central, southwest, and west-central Montana.
After the snow stops, cold conditions are expected to stick around through Tuesday morning, spurring frost and freeze warnings for parts of the area.
That same cold front bringing heavy snow over the Northern Rockies is going to fuel severe storms for the Northern and Central Plains, according to Fox News.
More videos about the anomalous and heavy snow in Utah, Idaho and Montana this weekend:
The weather is going crazy right now! An extremely rare derecho was also reported across Wyoming and Colorado this weekend. This was the second such massive storm in three days… More than 100,000 lightnings on the West Coast… And now heavy snow. Really abnormal, isn’t it? More severe weather reports on Strange Sounds and Steve Quayle. [FoxNews, Fox13]