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The year 2018 has already set a new weather record in Billings, with more snow on the ground than on any New Year's Day since the National Weather Service began keeping track in 1934.

Following the 13.8 inches of snow that fell during last week's winter storm, a total snow depth of 17 inches was recorded at the Billings Logan International Airport's weather station, from which the weather agency takes its official measurements.

Last month's 25.1 inches of snowfall also made it the fourth-snowiest December on record, NWS Senior Forecaster Brian Tesar said Sunday. The all-time record was set just one year earlier, when Billings received a month-long total of 30.5 inches in December 2016.

Below the Rims, the weather agency received reports of storm totals ranging from 12 to 16 inches of snow from Thursday through Saturday. And Tesar said the system dumped up to 2 feet in other parts of the region, including Livingston and the areas around Roundup and Hardin.

While it's the most snow-covered start to the year on record, it likely won't be the coldest.

As of press time Sunday, low temperatures in Billings were expected to reach 15 to 20 degrees below zero overnight. Billings' coldest-ever Jan. 1 took place in 1942, when the airport recorded a low of minus 25 degrees.

In the northeastern corner of the state, temperatures on New Year's Eve dropped into the negative 40s in some places. A wind chill warning remains in effect through Monday morning for that portion of the state, where even light winds were expected to make temperatures feel as cold as minus 50 overnight.

But Eastern Montana residents should finally get some relief from the frigid weather next week, Tesar said. Billings could see high temperatures finally rise above freezing on Wednesday, and possibly the low 40s by Friday.

Beginning Monday afternoon, winds gusting up to 30 miles per hour could create blowing and drifting snow throughout the region, resulting in another spell of poor driving conditions through Tuesday.

"That's probably going to create some lower visibilities for driving," Tesar said. "It'll be enough that it may very well cause some travel issues for drifted-over roads, mainly in the rural areas and possibly on the highways, too."

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