Posted: Oct 12, 2012 8:19 AM by Chrissy Kohler - StormTracker Weather Center
Updated: Oct 12, 2012 8:32 AM
MISSOULA - Today is going to be one of the last warm, sunny days for a while here in Western Montana before a shift in our pattern brings some rain and cooler temperatures our way.
A ridge of high pressure hangs on for one more day bringing us sunny skies today. We'll also get a nice push of warm air ahead of our next system with means we'll see highs about 10 degrees above average. We'll top out this afternoon in the upper 60s to low 70s.
Tonight is when the changes will begin. A cold front will move across the Pacific Northwest bringing rain and mountain snow to us after midnight. The showers will linger into the morning hours with still some hit and miss showers continuing into the afternoon. We'll also see gusty winds with the front. Gusts over 20 mph are expected in the valleys from Friday evening through the day Saturday.
Sunday will be a day of transition between two weather systems. We'll see mostly cloudy skies all across the area. But the chance for rain will diminish across the southwest while the northwest corner of the state still has a decent to see some on and off showers through the day. The drop in temperatures this weekend means a drop in snow levels to around 6000' so the higher elevations will get snow with this system.
Our second and more potent system will move in Sunday night and last into the day on Monday. This system is likely to bring more rain with over 1/4" possible. Winds will again be an issue with this system as gusts up to the 20 mph to 30 mph range. A secondary wave will pass through the system extending the chance for rain into Tuesday as well. And we'll continue to see mountain snow accumulations during this time.
Our temperatures will drop on Saturday will the passage of the first front and for the weekend and into next week our highs will sit in the 50s. Our overnight lows, however, will warm up a bit thanks to all the cloud cover. The clouds act as a blanket trapping in the heat of the day so morning lows will be mild falling only into the upper 30s to low 40s.