Many in Missoula remember the epic snowfall of 1996, when, for an eight day period, there were over 17 inches of snow on the ground, however, the last 36 hours around Christmas came pretty close.

Meteorologist Bob Nestor with the National Weather Service office in Missoula said on Monday, that Missoula officially has 13 inches of snow on the ground.

"As of today, we have 13 inches on the ground, and that's the most in the month of December, dating all the back to 1996," Nestor said. "In that eight day period, we had 17 inches or more on the ground, and by the 30th, there was 27 inches, so that was one epic storm I don't think we'll catch, but this one was pretty significant. It's also only the second or third time since we've been taking records here that we've had two storms that dropped six inches of snow in the month of December."

Nestor said the snow pack in the western Montana mountains is near normal, but the situation could improve in the next few days with another winter storm headed our way.

"This is a really good pattern for snow in the mountains," he said. "We're looking at anywhere from 8 to 14 inches of snow for example, on Lookout Pass, Lost Trail Pass and up on Marias Pass in Glacier, so the mountains should receive a pretty healthy amount of snow. As for the Missoula valley, I wouldn't anticipate seeing much in the way of snowfall, due to the 'mountain shadow' effect, however, we could see some bands of snow move through the area that could drop another few inches on the ground."

Roads throughout the Missoula area are snow covered, snow packed and icy, but plowing and sanding crews have been hard at work since Christmas Eve, clearing the main roads first, and getting to the side streets as quickly as possible.

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