Nov 6, 2012 11:09 AM by Chrissy Kohler - StormTracker Weather Center
MISSOULA - We set a couple records yesterday across Western Montana. Kalispell broke the old record high of 63 set in 1934 by reaching a high of 66 yesterday. And Missoula tied the old record of 67 set back in the 1934 as well. Missoula also tied the record high low yesterday by bottoming out at 43.
We're on track to see another record setting day here in Western Montana. Our highs will reach the 60s and even near the 70 degree mark for some places in the Bitterroot. It's all thanks to a ridge of high pressure pulling in the warmth from the south and bringing us partly cloudy skies. So as you head out to the polls today you can leave the umbrellas and coats at home!
Tomorrow and Thursday will be transition days as we head for much cooler temperatures and even the potential for a snow storm. Wednesday will bring highs in the low 50s and partly cloudy skies with very scattered rain showers and drier conditions Wednesday night. We could even see a few winds gusts over 20 mph during the afternoon.
Thursday is when things will begin to get messy. A cold cored system from the Gulf of Alaska with combine with a major dip in the jet stream to create a cold, wet end to the work week. What will start as a rain-snow mix Thursday will transition into snow Thursday night and allow for snow accumulations in the valleys during the day on Friday.
A winter storm watch has been issued for most of Western Montana from Thursday morning until Friday night. The Lower Clark Fork region is expect to see 3" to 5" of snow in the valleys with 6" to 12" over the mountains including Lookout Pass. East-northeast winds of 15 mph to 25 mph are likely, with gusts up to 30 mph possible.
The West Glacier and Potomac-Seeley Lake regions are expected to receive 5" to 9" of snow in the lower elevations with 10" to 20" of snow in the mountains including Marias Pass. East-northeast winds of 20 mph to 30 mph are likely, with gusts up to 40 mph possible. Watch for dangerous driving conditions due to reduced visibilities.
The Bitterroot, Sapphire and Clearwater mountains and the Butte-Blackfoot region can expect 5" to 9" of snow in the valleys with 9" to 15" in the mountains including Lolo, Lost Trail and MacDonald passes. East-northeast winds of 15 mph to 25 mph are likely, with gusts up to 30 mph possible. Watch for low visibilities due to blowing snow.
The Flathead, Mission, Missoula and Bitterroot valleys are all expected to see anywhere from 2" to 6" of snow. East-northeast winds of 20 mph to 30 mph are likely with gusts up to 40 mph. Winds will create blowing snow conditions and low visibilities especially through Badrock and Hellgate canyons. Flathead Lake will see dangerous boating conditions as well.
Beyond Friday, things will dry out for the weekend, but much cooler air will settle in. Highs on Saturday are only expected to reach the mid 20s! Overnight lows Saturday and Sunday mornings will be in the teens and single digits. And with some gusty winds still linger, wind chills will make it feel even colder.