NWS: winter storm this weekend could be "historic"

Winter Storm Warning for the Rocky Mountain Front
Posted at 9:38 AM, Sep 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-27 11:55:23-04

The National Weather Service in Great Falls said on Thursday afternoon: "Strong winds could also bring near blizzard conditions across the Rocky Mountain Front. This storm could be historic in the amount of snow and the cold temperatures that follow. Use this time to prepare your home, vehicles, and anything else that may be impacted from widespread heavy snow."

The approaching storm has prompted some temporary closures at Glacier National Park. Park officials say that the east side of the Going To The Sun Road is closed at Jackson Glacier Overlook.

Going to the Sun Road remains closed through Sept. 29 between Avalanche Creek to Logan Pass on the westside for pavement preservation. The Many Glacier Campground closed at noon on Thursday and the Two Medicine Campground will close Friday morning. While St. Mary Campground remains open, park officials are advising against camping there.

Colder air will invade the state on Friday. This will be met head-on by significant moisture being drawn from the Pacific Ocean. These colliding weather systems are expected to produce significant snow for a good chunk of Central Montana. Temperatures for much of the region on Saturday will likely be in the 20s to low 30s, with wind-chill factors dropping to near zero in some areas.

A Winter Storm Warning has been issued for The West Glacier Region, Glacier, Pondera, Teton, Toole, and Lewis & Clark Counties. This will go into effect Friday afternoon and last through the weekend.

Heavy snow is likely, with total snow accumulations of to two or three feet at higher elevations and along areas of the Rocky Mountain Front; at lower elevations, such as in and around Great Falls, snow totals could range from six inches up to more than 12 inches.

In addition, gusty winds could cause blizzard-like and white-out conditions in some areas.

The National Weather Service in Missoula noted in a post on Friday morning that along with snowfall, our upcoming winter storm will bring a prolonged period of strong, potentially damaging winds to the region.

Beginning late tonight and lasting through the day Saturday, western Montana will experience a period up to 48 hours of sustained winds ranging between 25 to 40 mph, with gusts reaching up to 50 mph. Locally higher gusts in parts of northwest Montana will reach as high as 60 mph at times, especially in the terrain along the Divide. Winds should begin to decrease through the day Sunday.