MISSOULA — High wind, snow, and frigid temperatures have all started making their move into Western Montana this afternoon.
Gusts are clocking in around 40-50 MPH across the northwest.
The Bitterroot Valley and southwest are still seeing gusts around 15-20 MPH, but wind will increase throughout the evening to around 30-35 MPH gusts.
Temperatures will dip down into the teens and low 20s tonight, but with windy conditions, the wind chill value will make it feel more like the single digits and negatives.
Snow will continue to fall tonight, but little accumulation (1-3”) is expected in valleys.
Higher totals are expected across the northwest and across I-90 and HWY 200 outside of the Missoula valley.
We are less worried about the AMOUNT of snowfall and more on the impacts falling snow will have. These impacts will include slick roadways and very poor visibility due to drifting and blowing snow.
Affects of this winter storm are likely to be more widespread from I-90 north in northwest Montana, but impacts will STILL be felt across the Missoula and Bitteroot valley, too.
Power outages have already been reported across MT-35 and near the Swan Lake area, and trees even shut down MT-35 for a period of time Friday afternoon.
It would be a good idea to have a backup source of heat if you live in the northwest, because widespread power outages may occur for a few hours, and temperatures will be frigid overnight.
Saturday morning we will be waking up to similar conditions we are experiencing as we head to bed tonight.
Calmer conditions move in by Saturday night, but temperatures remain well-below average as we head into Sunday.
- For the latest road conditions:
WINTER WEATHER RESOURCES: