MISSOULA — We have some very active winter weather in our forecast tonight.
If you have plans to travel tonight, this will be a forecast you are going to want to pay close attention to.
Temperatures in valleys Friday afternoon are warm, but light snowflakes are still making it to the surface.
While accumulation will not be high in valleys through Friday afternoon, Friday night will be a different story.
Snow will be accumulating all day in mountains, and passes and upper elevation valleys will likely receive closer to 3-5” with isolated areas like Lookout Pass and the Bitterroot and Sapphire mountains getting closer to 6-10”.
Valley snow will start lightly accumulating as temperatures drop back below freezing late Friday night and early Saturday morning.
Accumulation in valleys will be closer to 1-3”, but there is one exception.
Late tonight banding will be possible in West-Central Montana.
As you remember from just a few days ago, this banding will DRAMATACLLY increase snow amounts in its path.
One location may have 5” while another has a skiff due to banding.
Therefore, it is hard to say for certain what each town in West-Central Montana will receive, and as these bands form, it will be more of a now-casting event.
The general timeframe for bands to start forming will be late Friday night.
The location is still hard to nail down ahead of time within a few miles, but we have the general idea of the I-90, HWY 200 and HWY 12 corridor pegged down (very similar to where these bands set up just a few days ago).
Winter Weather Advisories are in place until Saturday morning and afternoon due to snow creating hazards for Western Montana.
On top of snow, a cold front will move down Friday night through Saturday morning.
Post cold front passage, wind will start whipping around our area.
40-45 MPH gusts are possible in upper elevations like passes and upper elevation valleys, so on top of falling snow and banding events, we will be watching for drifting/blowing snow to reduce visibility.