Heavy snowfall, wind, frost and sub-zero temperatures. For the rest of the week, there’s little in western Montana that is NOT on the winter weather map.
And while it probably won’t be as bad as it was before Christmas, it will still be enough to get our attention, beginning with the heavy snowfall Thursday afternoon through Friday with a winter storm watch.
A combination of factors will make this a truly awkward winter weekend and have you reaching for hot chocolate and Netflix.
It all starts Thursday afternoon with snow that could eventually shed “at least” 4 inches of snow in the valleys and “at least” 8 inches in the mountains.
“Moderate to heavy snow may even fall in the valleys, but the mountains will definitely be hit head-on by this first phase,” said Dave Noble, meteorologist at the National Weather Service. “And then on Friday it will be a little warmer, probably continuation of the snow in the mountains and some other places.”
Snow could crush the Flathead
According to Noble, the conditions could generate snow rates of up to 2 inches per hour, primarily in northwest Montana.
“Usually there are areas where these higher snow rates occur. They know the Glacier Park region where they usually have that. One of those earlier storms that we had a month ago in December, as you know, had almost 3 feet of snow in that area. Just because the snow rates were so high. Two to three inches an hour.”
Very dangerous conditions on Friday evening
Missoula South may not see this heavy snow, with a warm up on Friday. Then we will be flash frozen on Friday evening.
“And then we expect flash freezes,” Noble tells me. “Blowing snow, blowing snow, even moderate to heavy snowfall in some places could be a big mess. The journey could be quite difficult from Friday night into Saturday.”
Then it gets REALLY cold
And we’re not done yet as sub-zero temperatures are returning. Not quite as cold as before Christmas. But still miserable. Noble and his colleagues expect 15 to 16 degrees below by Sunday night, and colder in places like the Butte-Blackfoot region.
“The lows could actually be 20 to 40 degrees below, along west of the watershed, we have about a 90% chance of 20 degrees below or so or colder for those areas.”
Temperatures could ease next week, but forecasters are already eyeing another big surge in humidity.
CONTINUE READING: What are the Missoula rules for shoveling in hazardous weather?
Montana’s Top 10 Record-Breaking Wild Weather Events
Montana is called Big Sky Country for a number of reasons, not only because of the magnificent sunsets, but also because of the impressive weather events! Ask any Montana resident who has scoffed at the idea of throwing a blanket or snow shovel in the trunk of the car “just in case.” Here is a list of the top 10 record breaking wild weather events in Montana