More than 3 inches of snow on Friday pushed the city of Billings over a December snowfall record set in 1955 and put totals for the month hovering below 30 inches, according to the National Weather Service in Billings.
As of 4 p.m., snowfall for Friday measured 3.3 inches at the airport and put the total for December at 29.8 inches, said Julie Arthur, an NWS meteorologist in Billings.
Arthur said NWS records for Billings date back to 1934. "It's pretty big," she said, of breaking the 1955 record of 28.8 inches. Snowfall for December 2016 surpassed totals for the entirety of the previous winter when Billings experienced a combined 28.1 inches of snow, Arthur said.
Speaking at around 6 p.m., Arthur said snowfall for the day was expected to taper off soon and that New Year's Eve should be precipitation free, with a high of 30 and an overnight low of 11.
"Then everything changes on Sunday," Arthur said. "We have an Arctic cold front coming south out of Canada that's going to usher in snow and much colder air."
Beginning in the late morning and early afternoon on Sunday, snow will again fall over Billings, dropping between 4 and 6 inches before tapering off Monday evening, Arthur said.
Despite the snow, Arthur said blizzard conditions are not expected for Billings.
Sunday's temperature should peak around 18 and fall throughout the day. Monday Billings will see a high of 3 and an overnight low of negative 14, and a windchill factor possibly dipping down to negative 25 by Tuesday morning. The high for Tuesday is expected to be negative 4, Arthur said.
Temperatures will rise gradually throughout the week, making a high of 10 possible on Thursday and a high of 9 possible on Friday, but the cold is expected to stay. Forecast models showed below-average temperatures as far out as three weeks, Arthur said.
"Unfortunately there's not too much warming predicted on the horizon," Arthur said. "It could be quite a prolonged cold period."