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Late winter storm hits Boulder

Published On: Mar 18 2014 05:56:58 PM MDT
Updated On: Mar 18 2014 06:40:28 PM MDT
BUTTE, Mont. -

With just two days to go before the official start of spring, a late-season storm walloped parts of central and southwest Montana.

From Bozeman to Boulder, residents woke to snow ranging from several inches to close to a foot. Our First Alert team tracked the storm as it moved across the region.

One of the hardest hit areas was Boulder, about 30 miles north of Butte and just east of the Continental Divide.

Boulder resident Sally Houtchens told NBC Montana there was no snow Monday morning, but 24 hours later she had to have her son help shovel her out.

"It was really snowing in Boulder," she said.

In a matter of a few hours, Boulder was blanketed with snow, measuring up to 9 inches.

"I went around measuring 7, 8, 9 inches," said Houtchens.

Houtchens knows that spring is right around the corner, but says in Montana a date on calendar doesn't mean anything when it comes to snow.

"In Montana it can snow into June," said Houtchens.

Not everyone in Boulder was excited to see the fresh powder. "I'm tired of plowing it, I really am," said L&P Groceries owner Luke Vosser.

"I'm kind of tired of it, but I'm glad we're getting it," said Boulder resident John Willoughby. Willoughby said as much as he doesn't like dealing with late winter storms, he knows it could help later this summer.

"Because it suppresses forest fires," said Willoughby. "And is good for timber and that."

Down the street, Vosser said he's still crossing his fingers that this storm is the last before the start of spring. "I'm waiting for it, yep, I'm ready," he said.

One Boulder rancher said the extra snow can be a mixed blessing as we transition into the spring and summer. Lori Norby, who grows hay for cattle at her ranch 5 miles south of Boulder, said there can be concern because it could lead to flooding when the snow starts to melt. But that a good snowpack also helps keep her pasture full of hay.

"Oh this is a million-dollar snow," Norby said. "The ground is already partially thawed and all this is going to go down low into and the ground has been really dry, so we'll really benefit from it."