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June Snow Targets Northern Rockies

UPDATED 7:15 AM MDT, June 18, 2014

By WeatherBug's Luke Paris

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The first day of summer may be on Saturday, but Mother Nature still has a few wintry tricks up its sleeve as snow heads for the northern and central Rockies. Travel may be difficult on a few passes from Montana to Utah.

Memories of a cold and brutal winter that wrapped up just several months ago will surface for residents tucked away in the Northern Rockies. A rare mid-June cold snap will invade the higher elevations of Montana, concocting a recipe for plenty of snow, wind and bitter cold temperatures. Additional snow accumulations of 4 to 8 inches are expected to blanket locations above 6500 feet, accompanied by a plummet in temperatures and wind gusts topping out at 30 mph.

A Winter Storm Warning is in place for elevations above 6500 feet across the eastern slopes of the Northern Rockies, including Glacier National Park until Thursday morning. Additionally, Winter Weather Advisories stretch along the slopes of the Rockies from western Montana across western Wyoming into northern Utah. This includes the area near Yellowstone National Park and the Utah Wasatch above Salt Lake City.

Residents and hikers along the eastern front of the Northern Rockies should be prepared for locally heavy snowfall. A few power outages are possible due to the heavy, wet nature of the snow, which could weigh down trees and power lines. If you are heading across Interstate 80 near Salt Lake City, or along U.S. Routes 16 or 26 into Yellowstone, or on U.S. Route 89 in Montana, be prepared for wintry driving conditions. Carry chains with you if you head to the mountains as they may become required.

Averaging only two-tenths of an inch of snow each year in June, a winter blast in the Northern Rockies such as this is quite rare given the time of year, but not unprecedented, as demonstrated when a foot of snow fell in Glacier National Park in August of 1992.

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