Record Cold, Snow Strikes Western States, Rockies

Heavy snow with accompanying unseasonably cold temperatures has gripped western states up and down the Rocky Mountains and affected areas in the central part of the nation from Minnesota to Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.

A trough in the jet stream allowed Arctic air to plunge into the northwest, dropping temperatures as much as 40 degrees below normal and blanketing the region with snow and ice.

Potomac, Montana, recorded minus-29.2 degrees Fahrenheit early Sunday, the National Weather Service in Missoula showed, along with a herd of cattle huddling together in an apparent attempt to stay warm.

The reading was the coldest temperature observed this early in fall/winter season in the contiguous 48 states, The Washington Post reported.

Other record lows were noted at minus-5 in Billings on Sunday and minus-22 in West Yellowstone and minus-2 in Glasgow on Monday.

“It’s not normal to set this many records in this short of a time – and monumental records,” according to National Weather Service meteorologist Corby Dickerson in Missoula, according to AccuWeather.

Snowfalls from 5 to 25 inches were noted Washington to New Mexico with Great Falls, Montana, getting 28 inches over nine days, breaking its October record of 18.5 set in 1925, Accuweather reported.

Totals of 20-23 inches across Colorado and Wyoming were not uncommon and even Minneapolis saw 9.3 inches in October, eclipsing its 1991 record of 8.2 inches.

The cold and snow were moving east with accumulating ice expected to be a problem across the southern plain states like Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle and southeastern Missouri.

As many as 300,000 were left without power in Oklahoma on Tuesday evening.

Accuweather said a drier, warmer weather pattern was expected from the middle to the end of the week.

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