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September snowstorm possibly historic in Butte

By Matt Gray, Meteorologist/Reporter, mgray@keci.com
Published On: Sep 25 2013 12:14:35 AM MDT
Updated On: Sep 25 2013 12:15:07 AM MDT
Snowy Day in Butte

Undated photograph of a snowy Butte, Montana; from the Library of Congress Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscape Survey Collection.

BUTTE, Mont. -

This week's winter storm may end up comparing with some of the biggest September snows in Butte's history. Up to 6 inches of snow could fall in the area. Should 6 inches actually fall in a 24 hour period, it would be tied for third place on the list of biggest September snowfalls since record keeping began in 1894. Here are the top ten September snowfalls in Butte:

1.   6.9"   Sept. 24th 1920
2.   6.4"   Sept. 17th 1946
3.   6.0"   Sept. 24th 1910
4.   5.5"   Sept. 6th 1910
5.   5.0"   Sept. 18th 1957
6.   4.4"   Sept. 18th 1983
7.   4.0"   Sept. 5th 1911
8.   3.8"   Sept. 26th 1984
9.   3.8"   Sept. 17th 1947
10. 3.3"   Sept. 18th 1978

With the Butte area forecast to receive a minimum of 3 inches of snow, the possibility of a shakeup on this list is certainly possible. Of course, that much snow has to fall in a 24 hour period to count. While winter storms produce more steady and consistent precipitation than their summer thunderstorm cousins, there are heavy bands in these storms as well. Ending up under one of these heavier bands can mean having much more snow than your neighbor. For example, on September 20th, 1968, Anaconda received 9 inches of snow. That's the most Anaconda has ever received in September on a single day. The snow that fell in Butte that day doesn't even make the top 10.

The biggest factor in how much snow you might receive will be elevation. Butte sits at around 5,500 feet, just above the approximate snow line at around 5000 feet forecast for this storm. Reaching above 6000 feet snowfall up to a foot is possible, with all the major ranges getting plenty of it.