Snowing a ton in Helena! Well, a lot anyway…

Snow falls outside the state capitol building Friday afternoon

A winter storm is moving through the state, a fact very obvious to those especially in North, Central and Southwest Montana. Those areas have seen heavy snowfall today. That snow is expected to last through the night, followed by very cold temperatures on Saturday.

I’m walking outside the back door of the capitol. With me, a new reporter who just started working down the hall from me, Chudney Matta, the Helena reporter for ABC 5.”

We’re getting lightly assaulted by snow at this point.

She’s been in Montana for about 4 weeks now, coming from,“Sunny California! Los Angeles!”

She wakes up this morning, looks out the window and thinks, “Looks like all the roads will be closed this morning so I won’t have to go to work.”

Wishful thinking for Chudney, I’m afraid.

It has been a lot of snow though.

“Right now, the heaviest reports have been coming from down in Helena around Butte this afternoon in terms of intensity,” said Great Falls-based National Weather Service Meteorologist Nick Langlieb.

He says across the plains of North Central Montana up to the Rocky Mountain Front it has snowed a foot or more. 17 inches in the Heart Butte area.

“A little over 14 here in Great Falls,” he said.

And over a foot in Helena too. It’s been a challenge for reporter Chudney Matta out on the beat.

“I traded in a SUV I had in LA for a smaller car thinking ‘hey I would do great in Montana with this car and I’ve been having a really difficult time getting up hills.”

She had to leave her car behind for a few hours, getting a ride with someone else.

“It’s been bananas,” she said.

West of the Continental Divide has not seen nearly the snowfall, an average of 3 to 6 inches. Meteorologist Nick Langlieb says the snow should start to lighten up tomorrow morning.

And it’s going to get cold.

“It looks like tonight temperatures will be anywhere from the single digits below zero around Cut Bank around the Rocky Mountain Front to the single digits and teens above zero across Southwest Montana and tomorrow highs will only be in the single digits and teens,” he said.

Another new one for Chudney Matta.

“I don’t think that my thermometer gets that low!” she laughed.

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