MISSOULA — Western Montana is in for an active weather weekend, with rain, gusty winds, and accumulating snow all part of the forecast. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning which will be in place from Saturday afternoon through early Monday morning for the West Glacier Region, Potomac/Seeley Region, Butte/Blackfoot Region, and the Bitterroot and Sapphire mountains. Snow totals ranging from 4 to 8 inches in the valleys and 8 to 14 inches in the mountains are expected in these areas along with winds gusting from 30 to 50 miles per hour. Travel will be very difficult in these areas for the duration of this advisory. Wind chill values will drop into the single digits to slightly below zero as arctic air is ushered in from the north/northeast.
For the rest of western Montana, including the Missoula, Bitterroot, Flathead, and Mission valleys as well as the Lower Clark Fork Region and the Kootenai/Cabinet Region, a Winter Weather Advisory is in place from Saturday afternoon through Sunday night. The Missoula and Bitterroot valleys are expected to receive 3 to 6 inches of snow, while the Flathead and Mission valleys will receive in the range of 1 to 4 inches of snow. Lookout Pass will receive about 4 to 7 inches of snow. Winds will pick up through the day Saturday and into Saturday night ushering in colder air.
As for the transition from rain to snow, that transition will begin later today along the divide, and during the late evening and overnight hours in west-central and southwest Montana.
Saturday night and Sunday will feature wind and snow with temperatures holding steady in the middle to upper 20s. Wind chill values will generally range from the single digits to teens.
Monday will bring a break from the snow. We’ll see a mostly sunny sky with highs in the middle 30 after starting the day in the mid-single digits to middle teens.
Expect a northwest flow for the better part of the weak. This will allow quick moving weather disturbances, meaning periods of light to moderate snow mixed with rain at times Tuesday through Friday. Snow accumulations will be light. We’ll see highs in the 30s with lows in the teens and twenties throughout the week.
Have a wonderful weekend!