It may be less than two weeks into the fall season, but a storm brewing in the Northwest is expected to bring the first snow of the season to the parts of the Central and Northern Plains on Thursday and Friday.
Colder air moving into the region – from South Dakota and Nebraska to parts of Utah and Idaho – will cause rain to mix with or change into snow Thursday night into Friday, according to the National Weather Service. And in northeast Wyoming, the NWS said, there is the potential for what's considered "significant" amounts of snow (more than 6 inches) through Friday night. The Weather Channel predicts that some areas in Wyoming may get up to 18 inches of snow, while areas on the outskirts of the storm in Idaho, Montana, Colorado and Nebraska may only see 1 to 3 inches.
If snow does begin to fall, not only would it be the first snow of the season for South Dakota and Nebraska, it would also be one of the earliest snow storms on record in the area that accumulated more than 1 inch of snow, according to The Weather Channel. It's also possible that parts of northern Minnesota may get a light dusting of wet snow during the weekend.
A winter storm watch is in effect through Friday for the Plains states, meaning forecasters expect heavy snow, strong winds and cold rain that could cause difficult travel conditions. But the main threats, according to the National Weather Service, will be downed power lines and tree damage that could occur because of heavy, wet snow in Montana, and icy, snowpacked roads in parts of Colorado near Denver.
Heavy snow has already had an impact on the Pacific Northwest, as two hikers were rescued Tuesday night and two more remain trapped in waist-deep snow in a remote area of southwest Washington.
Search-and-rescue officials rescued Matt Margiotta and Kyla Arnold, who were trapped on the Pacific Crest Trail, north of Trout Lake, Wash., according to The Associated Press. Although the rescue crew initially got within a mile of the hikers on ground, heavy snow forced them to use a helicopter to hoist the two out of the snow.
Two other hikers, Alejandrea Wilson and Kristopher Zitzewitz, are still missing.