So long fall, hello winter. A series of winter storms last week dumped about nine inches of snow in West Glacier and in St. Mary in Glacier National Park, with even more falling in parts of the Canyon.
The storms started Wednesday and rolled through until Sunday, with bitterly cold north and east winds and highs in the 20s.
Glacier National Park spokeswoman Lauren Alley said both sides of the Park saw about nine inches of snow. Higher elevations saw more.
The West Flattop Snotel site in Glacier has about 27 inches of snow and the Many Glacier about 13 inches.
Outside the Park, the Noisy Basin Snotel in the Jewel Basin has about 37 inches of snow on the ground already.
With the storms, the snowpack in the Flathead River Basin is off to a quick start at about 230 percent of average.
With the snow, all of the secondary roads on Glacier’s east side have closed for the winter and the Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed at St. Mary.
On the west side, the Sun Road is open to Avalanche Creek and the Camas Road is open.
The Park usually plows those two roads until mid-December. The Sun Road is plowed to Lake McDonald Lodge all winter.
While the Flathead Avalanche Center hasn’t yet issued an avalanche rating, it is urging caution, noting avalanches on wind-loaded snow are possible, especially above treeline.
In addition, there’s a lot of debris in chutes, so if a person gets caught in a slide, they’re likely to get dragged through the debris field because the snow isn’t that deep, the center warns.
The National Weather Service is calling for more cold weather this week, with a chance of rain or snow Thursday and Friday, though temperatures should warm closer to normal — in the 40s — by the weekend.