Round 1 of winter weather returns Wednesday

Impacts to travel in northwest passes expected
Posted at 4:11 PM, Mar 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-10 18:11:11-04

MISSOULA — Rain and snow are already making their way across the northwest corner of the state tonight.

Clouds will fill into the rest of our area tonight, so no more clear glimpses of the nearly-full Worm Supermoon will be possible.

A cold front starts sweeping into the northwest around midnight.

This front will slowly make its way from north to south over Wednesday.

Rain and snow showers will start forming along the front line or just slightly ahead, but wind will really pick up after this front passes.

Valleys could see 20-30 MPH gusts while areas along the Divide (especially Marias Pass) will see gusts up to 40 MPH.

These upper elevations that get the highest gusts will also likely get the most snow accumulation. Falling snow will be blown around which will significantly reduce visibility throughout Wednesday.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect from midnight until 11 AM Wednesday for areas above 3500 ft. near Essex, Polebridge, and Marias Pass. 2-5” of accumulation are possible in these areas with high gusts- again- making for some travel headaches.

Other areas that could see a few inches of snow will be the Seeley/Swan areas. These upper elevation valleys can expect to have slick roadways Wednesday night and Thursday.

This is just Round 1 of winter weather set to return to Western Montana.
A significant change, and the storm we will be closely watching, will return Friday and Saturday.
A trough drops down from the north, and we are expecting significant drops in temperatures (near record breaking cold possible for the northwest), and snow returns for us all!
We will focus first on this first event which will occur Wednesday- early Thursday morning, and then set our eyes on the impacts this next weekend storm system will bring.
Do expect high impacts to roadways and even newborn livestock loss of life will be possible this weekend.

Until then, drive safe- especially through the northwest and I-90/ HWY 200 corridor east of Missoula Wednesday- Thursday morning!