01:20 - Source: CNN
How strong a blizzard's impact may be
CNN —  

A significant winter storm will blast through the northern Rocky Mountains this weekend.

This has the potential to be a historically significant early-season snow event,” the National Weather Service in Great Falls, Montana, said.

A cold front with strong winds and near-record cold air will move through Idaho and Montana on Friday. It will be followed by another low-pressure system that will stall over the region Friday night through Sunday.

With unseasonably cold air already in place, wet, heavy snow is likely from the valleys to the mountain tops.

It’s the very beginning of fall and the northern Rocky Mountains are bracing for a significant winter storm that could pummel the mountains with feet of snow and blizzard conditions this weekend.

This weekend 15 to 36 inches of snow could fall across the plains, with even higher amounts in the mountains.

Winter storm warnings will be in effect for portions of Montana from 6 p.m. (MDT) Friday to 6 p.m. (MDT) Sunday.

National Weather Service meteorologists say they’re confident in the forecast.

Given the expected heavy, wet nature of the snow, a host of potentially dangerous impacts could result.

Widespread tree damage and downed power lines are possible, resulting in power outages. Agricultural damage could be caused by the record cold temperatures.

Livestock is also at risk and the National Weather Service warns, “make sure livestock and pets also have the essentials that they will need during the storm.”