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Snow removal

A city worker piles snow from Billings streets and lots along South Billings Boulevard near Stone Street with a pay loader Tuesday.

Snow is blowing, roads are slick and temperatures are 20 to 30 degrees colder than normal. Happy Thanksgiving.

It has been worse at this time of year in Billings, but not much. If the high temperature reaches the National Weather Service forecast of 18 degrees on Thanksgiving Day, it will rank as the fifth-coldest since record-keeping at the airport began in 1934.

The coldest Thanksgiving high was 3 below in 1985. The last time it was this cold for the late November holiday was 1993, when the temperature barely crept up to 15 degrees.

The warmest Thanksgiving on record was 1998, when a high of 66 would have made it possible to cook dinner on the barbecue grill.

The average high for Billings on Thanksgiving Day is 40.5 degrees, with a low of 21.2 degrees. Average snowfall is 0.3 inch.

But there has been nothing average about Thanksgiving week this year. Temperatures have been hovering near zero or below since Saturday.

Normal high temperatures in late November are in the low 40s, and up until a week ago, Billings was luxuriating in temperatures well above that. It was 60 degrees on Nov. 18, before an Arctic front moved in the next day. The high on Nov. 19 was 18 degrees.

With the sudden shift in the weather, Billings caught up and then surpassed its average snow total for this time of year. So far this season, 17.9 inches of snow has been measured — that's 12.8 inches more than normal.

Eleven inches are still on the ground, ranking Billings among the most-buried cities in the state. As of Tuesday morning, only West Yellowstone, with 25 inches, surpassed Billings on the list of cities reporting snow depth.

Contact Lorna Thackeray at lthackeray@billingsgazette.com or 657-1314.

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Lorna Thackeray can be reached at 657-1314 or lthackeray@billingsgazette.com

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