Sledding in Pioneer Park

Aaron Fauth sleds through a snowy Pioneer Park with his son Ethan Fauth in Billings on Saturday.

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Billings residents woke up Saturday morning to see the first snow of the season for 2020.

A weather system stretching from Great Falls to the southeastern corner of the state brought snowfall early Saturday morning, and is expected to continue through the rest of the weekend.

Rain pouring over the city turned to snow early Saturday morning as temperatures cooled from the low 50s to below freezing. The National Weather Service reported a record of 3 inches at Billings Logan International Airport just before noon, with the old daily record at 2.8. 

“It’s definitely going to be snowy in Billings with basically a continuation of this weather system throughout today and the rest of the night. We have this continuing wave that will force it into the eastern part of the state,” said meteorologist Aaron Gilstad with the National Weather Service’s Billings office.

Gilstad said the snow would continue until lifting Monday morning with a climb in temperature, but rain is still expected to follow and fall until Tuesday. The NWS weather forecast shows temperatures remaining at a high of 32 degrees through Sunday, with temperatures dropping to a low of 23. Monday’s forecast shows a high of 42 degrees.

The NWS announced a winter weather advisory for a broad portion of the state that extents from the Northwest and into the area surrounding Sheridan, Wyoming, that will be in effect until Sunday at noon. The advisory asks drivers to slow down and used caution on the state’s roads.

“Our biggest concern is not snow accumulation, it’s possible ice on the roads. Things have frosted over, so drivers should expect pretty slick roads across the area into the night, and throughout the weekend...Give yourself some time on the road, because even if the snow melts, the roads can still get pretty slick with slush,” Gilstad said.

Gilstad said some areas are also reporting visibility of a quarter-mile or less on the roads.

Battalion Chief Kevin Johnson with the Billings Fire Department said outside of a few minor power outages due to fallen tree limbs, the snow had not caused any major damage. Drivers in an around the city, he said, “were behaving themselves.” He also warned drivers that by tomorrow morning the overpasses and concrete areas throughout Billings would become iced over, and drivers should slow their speeds accordingly.

With the drop in temperatures and daylight savings time coming up, Johnson said Billings residents should also take time to switch out the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

“People are firing up their furnaces for the first time this season, so it’s a time to make sure that all of their detectors are working,” he said.

This article originally ran on billingsgazette.com.

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