MISSOULA — Another beautiful day is expected across the northern Rockies Thursday. Highs will range in the low to upper 60's with even a few 70's possible for the lower elevations of Idaho and parts of the Bitterroot Valley.
Another nice day is expected Friday with highs again in the 60's. Clouds will then be increasing for west-central and northwest Montana by the afternoon as a strong cold front approaches.
A cold Canadian air mass will move into the northern Rockies Friday night and Saturday making it feel like winter again. The cold air will hit northwest Montana first Friday night then continue into west-central and southwest Montana throughout the day Saturday.
Valley rain/snow, mountain snow and strong gusty winds will all develop as this front moves through. Impacts with this system include snowy travel conditions with blowing snow over mountain passes, especially along the Divide.
Damaging winds may be possible in northwest Montana with downed large trees and some power outages possible. High temperatures will drop into the 30's and 40's Saturday with the coldest temperatures being felt in northwest Montana.
The snow and rain will move out Sunday, however, cold air will stick around. Record low temperatures will be possible Sunday morning as temperatures drop into the 10's and low 20's. By the afternoon highs will only warm into the 30's and low 40's.
Below average temperatures will remain in the forecast through next week as highs top out in the 40's Monday then warm slightly into the upper 40's to low 50's through the rest of the week.