Power outages possible as high winds return to Western Montana

High wind, snow, and rain return Saturday
Posted at 4:21 PM, Jan 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-03 18:21:11-05

MISSOULA — It was a little breezy across Western Montana today, but bigger changes are moving in tomorrow.

Saturday’s forecast brings a cold front sweeping through Western Montana.

This cold front moves through the northwest corner around 5 AM, but sweeps through the rest of our area through the early to mid- morning hours.

With this cold front, widespread rain and snow return to the state.

Rain will fall in lower elevations as snow falls through upper elevations during the afternoon hours.

Snow levels will drop to valley floors Saturday night as temperatures return to below freezing.

Now on top of the rain and snow, VERY windy conditions move in!

We are talking 40-50 MPH gusts in valleys with up to 70 MPH gusts on mountain ridge lines.

This wind will pick up after the cold front passes (around 8 AM) and will not stop gusting until the later hours of Saturday night (11 PM).

A High Wind Warning is in effect for the northwest and a Wind Advisory is in effect for the rest of West-Central and Southwest Montana.

The wind alone could cause power outages due to downed tree limbs on power lines, and may cause high-profile vehicles like semis to roll.

Now add wind and rain to the mix, we could see drifting and blowing snow and heavy rain driven by wind which will likely reduce visibility quite a bit!

Please watch for slick roadways, low visibility spots, and rapidly changing weather conditions as you head out this weekend. Keep in mind backcountry recreation will be hazardous once again this weekend.