Start nailing down the yard decorations, high wind returns Saturday

Next system brings wind and winter weather
Posted at 3:42 PM, Jan 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-31 17:42:45-05

MISSOULA — Spotty showers are still showing up on satellite and radar, but most showers aren’t hitting valley floors.

Lower atmosphere is too dry for precipitation to make it to valley floors this afternoon, but snow showers are still falling across mountains.

As we see a lot more moisture build into all levels of our atmosphere, showers will become widespread and will hit valley floors tonight.

Breezy conditions last into overnight hours, and gusts up to 25-30 MPH are possible in valleys tonight.

Tomorrow is when we expect big changes in the forecast.

Ahead of an incoming cold font, widespread rain and snow will build into the northwest corner of the state first.

On top of moisture, wind will also really pick up tomorrow afternoon and evening.

Wind gusts will be around 40-45 MPH in valleys and up to 60 on ridge tops across the northwest, West Glacier, Flathead and Mission Valleys, and down into the Sapphire Mountains.

A Wind Advisory is in effect for most of Saturday afternoon and evening for these areas.

A cold front moves in later Saturday evening and pushes across our area through Sunday morning.

Behind the cold front, much cooler air settles in.

Rain will turn to snow in valleys across West-Central and Southwest Montana at this point.

We won’t see widespread effects from snow in valleys, but a skiff to an inch or two is possible on valley floors. Lost Trail will accumulate the most snow from this next system with close to half a foot possible.

Showers mostly move out of the northwest and West-Central Montana by Sunday morning, but remain in the Bitterroot Valley before clearing out in the afternoon.

Highs Sunday will be about average on Sunday, but overnight lows will drop to the single digits and low teens Sunday night into Monday morning.

A cooler than average trend will take place for a few days to start next week.

This will not be a long-lived cool off, because warmer than average temperatures return to the forecast by next Thursday.