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Snowstorm Returning Soon To Northern Rockies, Plains


Wet start to the week

Look for a few thunderstorms and rainy weather at times today, Oct. 7, from the Tennessee Valley all the way to New England. This is due to a cold front moving through the eastern United States. The rain will slow down drivers a bit, but there is good news – the chance of running into large hail, severe winds or flash flooding is low. As the front exits the East Coast tonight, the tail end of it may get stuck over southern Florida, producing periods of heavy rain and flash flooding tomorrow and Wednesday.

Winter-like woes returning to northern tier states

Planning ahead, another potent early season snowstorm may close roads and knock out power in portions of the northern Rockies and the northern Great Plains from Tuesday, Oct. 8 through Friday, Oct. 11.

SONAR Critical Events: Monday, October 7, 10:00 a.m. EDT

Tonight, an upper level trough of low pressure will drop into the Pacific Northwest, bringing abundant moisture to the mountains of Glacier National Park. This will produce widespread rainfall and high elevation snowfall. Early tomorrow morning, Oct. 8, a strong Canadian surface cold front will push south of the border. Behind the front, temperatures will drop below freezing, causing wet roads to ice over and changing areas of rain to snow.

The rapid change to freezing temperatures and widespread snowfall will make driving very difficult to downright dangerous on parts of I-15, I-90 and I-94, as well as many secondary routes across the region. So the National Weather Service (NWS) has changed some areas previously under a winter storm watch to the more serious winter storm warning. Many areas remain under the winter storm watch, and all alerts cover portions of western, central and south-central Montana, as well as northern Wyoming.

As of this morning, the NWS expects the highest snowfall totals to occur around Great Falls, Helena, MacDonald Pass, Rogers Pass, Raynesford, Lewistown, Montana City, Elk Park Pass, Homestake Pass, Townsend and White Sulphur Springs. These areas could see up to 18 inches in the high elevations with 4 to 12 inches in the lower slopes.

Other areas like Beaverhead, Bozeman, West Yellowstone and Targhee Pass could get socked in with 12 to 16 inches of fresh mountain snow, 4 to 10 inches in the lower elevations. Places such as Butte and Cut Bank, as well as Logan and Marias passes could get hit with up to 12 inches in the mountains and 2 to 6 inches down below.

Strong wind gusts will reduce visibility at times due to blowing and drifting snow, and the winds will also make it risky to deadhead through the region. Trees and power lines could get blown down and block roads. The storm could also delay operations at a number of international airports and oil facilities in the region, as indicated by the red and orange dots and "doughnuts" on the FreightWaves SONAR Critical Events map above.

The storm should fade across the northern Rockies late Wednesday night into early Thursday morning, Oct. 10, as it moves into the Dakotas. It's still a bit too early to determine the full impact the storm will have in the Dakotas. However, wind and accumulating snow wind could linger there through Friday, Oct. 11.

Additional notes

A section of Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC) rail is out of service in Missouri between Moberly and Kansas City because of logjams and debris strikes to the Grand River bridge in Brunswick, Missouri. Shippers operating through this area should expect delays of at least 48 to 72 hours.

Interstate 29 in Iowa remains closed due to flooding, from just north of Council Bluffs to Loveland. Detours remain posted.

Finally, some lanes and ramps of the I-10 bridge over the San Jacinto River are still closed. This is just east of Houston and is due to damage during last month's flooding from Tropical Storm Imelda. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, repairs may not be finished until early 2020.

Tropical update

SONAR Critical Events: Super Typhoon Hagibis as of Monday, October 7, 8:00 a.m. EDT

Super Typhoon Hagibis was producing sustained winds of 160 mph as of 8 a.m. EDT today, Oct. 7. It will brush just north of the U.S. territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands later today (early Tuesday, Guam time). Later this week, it could make landfall in Japan as a major typhoon with winds equal to Category 3 hurricane strength. This could have a major impact on the ports of Osaka and Nagoya, depending on the typhoon's ultimate track. Delays will be likely to shipping lanes in the northern Philippine Sea and the Sea of Japan.

Have a great day, and be careful out there!

Image Sourced from Pixabay

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