Weather

Jan 17, 2012 10:26 AM by KPAX/KAJ Media Center

Western MT under watches, warnings ahead of storm

MISSOULA- A strong winter storm is still taking aim on all of western Montana and the watches and warnings posted by the National Weather Service office in Missoula are still in effect.

A Winter Storm Watch remains in effect from this afternoon through Thursday morning for the Flathead and Mission valleys.

Snow showers will increase and become moderate at times, particularly in the Flathead Valley. Snow will likely decrease tonight in the Flathead Valley only to return again on Wednesday afternoon.

The Mission Valley will see the heaviest snow develop late tonight through Wednesday. Freezing rain may become possible Thursday morning, further accentuating the dangerous nature of the storm.

Snow accumulations of 8" to 14" are possible with locally higher amounts possible in the southern Mission Valley.

A Winter Storm Watch remains in effect from late tonight through Thursday morning for the Missoula and Bitterroot valleys.

Significant accumulating snowfall is expected with periods of heavy snowfall beginning late tonight and continuing through Thursday morning. Freezing rain may become possible early Thursday morning, making travel extremely hazardous.

Snow accumulations for tonight through Wednesday morning should total 1" to 2". Then from Wednesday morning until Thursday morning an additional 6" to 12" are possible.

A Winter Storm Watch remains in effect from this afternoon through Thursday morning for the Butte and Blackfoot regions.

Scattered snow showers will result in periods of reduced visibility and slick roadways. However the more persistent snowfall is expected to begin tonight. Periods of moderate to heavy snowfall will cause travel issues into Thursday. The heaviest snow is expected in the Georgetown Lake area and along the Montana Highway 200 corridor. Periods of blowing and drifting snow will reduce visibility, particularly over
MacDonald Pass.

Snow accumulations of 5" to 10" are possible along the Interstate 90 corridor and the Highway 200 and U.S. Highway 12 corridors, including over MacDonald pass. 12" to 24" inches are possible over Georgetown Lake.

A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until noon Thursday for the Northern and Southern Clearwater Mountains, as well as for the Bitterroot and Sapphire Mountains.

Snow will increase in intensity this morning and continue through Thursday with major travel impacts expected due to the high amounts of snow, especially over the mountain passes and limited maintenance roadways.

Look for snow accumulations of 20" to 30" through Thursday with higher amounts expected over Lolo Pass and throughout the high terrain. Elevations below 3,000 feet will have accumulations of 6" to 12".

A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until noon Thursday for the Kootenai and Cabinet region.

Snow will continue through Thursday with a brief break in snow is possible later tonight through early Wednesday, but that will be short-lived as another burst of snow will begin Wednesday afternoon. Major travel impacts are expected due to the high amounts of snow, especially over mountain passes and limited maintenance roadways.

Snow accumulations of 3" to 7" are expected today and Wednesday through Thursday accumulations of 7" to 10" are expected with higher amounts possible over mountain passes and throughout the high terrain.

The locations impacted include U.S. Highway 2 from Kalispell to Libby, Montana Highway 37 between Eureka and Libby, Bull lake road and U.S. Highway 93 from Eureka to Whitefish.

A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until noon Thursday for the Lower Clark Fork region.

Snow will increase in intensity and will continue through Thursday. Major travel impacts are expected due to high amounts of snow, especially over Lookout Pass. In addition, periods of increased winds may cause blowing and drifting of snow that will reduce visibility, primarily over Lookout Pass.

Snow accumulations today through Thursday are expected to be between 12" and 16" in the valleys and 25" to 38" inches over Lookout Pass and throughout the higher terrain. Locally higher amounts are expected in the mountains.

A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until noon Thursday for the West Glacier region.

Snow will continue through Thursday with major travel impacts expected due to high amounts of snow, especially over mountain passes. In addition, periods of increased wind will cause blowing and drifting of snow reducing visibility, primarily over Marias Pass. The wind will also cause wind chill readings to fall into the -15 to -25 range along U.S. Highway 2, mainly from Essex to Marias Pass.

Snow accumulations today through Thursday: mountain and pass accumulations of 18" to 30", with higher amounts possible. Valley locations such as Essex and West Glacier can expect 10" to 18" in this time frame.

Also look for winds of 20 mph to 30 mph with gusts of up to 40 mph possible over Marias Pass.

The National Weather Service office in Missoula has issued a Winter Storm Warning for heavy snow in the Potomac and Seeley Lake areas from 5 p.m. today until noon on Thursday. The Winter Storm Watch is no longer in effect.

Snow showers will increase and become moderate at times by this afternoon and road conditions will become slick. However the heaviest snow is expected to develop late tonight and persist through Thursday. Major travel impacts are expected due to high amounts of snow.

Look for 1" to 2" of snow today with another 15" to 25" of snow expected from Tuesday night through Thursday. Higher amounts are likely throughout the high terrain.

A Winter Storm Warning for Lost Trail Pass remains in effect from 11 a.m. this morning until noon on Thursday.

Mountain snow will continue and increase in intensity starting this afternoon. Snow will continue through Thursday with major travel impacts are expected due to high amounts of snow, especially over mountain passes.

Snow accumulations from Tuesday through Thursday are expected to be in the range of 20" to 30" over Lost Trail Pass.

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