MISSOULA — A change to the overall weather pattern will begin this afternoon as a cold front moves through.
Expect clouds and dry conditions Wednesday morning, scattered rain showers will then begin this afternoon as the cold front approaches. More steady rain is expected in northwest Montana. Some embedded heavy rain showers will be capable of producing .25"-.50" per hour rainfall rates, which could cause a concern for rock and mudslides in the Glacier Region.
Winds will also begin to pick up as the cold front moves through. A wind advisory has been issued for the Flathead, Mission, Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys along with the Seeley Lake Region and Butte/Blackfoot region. The wind advisory starts at noon today and runs through 9 pm tonight. Winds of 20-30 mph and gusts around 40-45 mph will be possible as the cold front moves through.
Snow levels will start out above 7,000 feet then fall to around 4,500 feet behind the cold front. Snow will mostly impact passes along the Divide tonight into Thursday morning, especially in northwest Montana. A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for areas above 4,000 feet in the West Glacier Region. This will specifically impact Marias Pass where 2"-to-4" of snow along with gusty winds could make for difficult travel through Thursday morning.
Rain showers and mountain snow showers will linger into Thursday morning for northwest Montana. West-central and southwest Montana will see a bit of sunshine Thursday morning before more clouds build in by the afternoon. Highs Thursday will top out in the 50's.
Another item of note with this weather pattern change will be the chance for widespread frost Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning. Frost chances will be specifically in west-central and southwest Montana Thursday morning as skies clear. Then widespread frost is expected across western Montana Friday and Saturday mornings. Those starting a garden or have outdoor plants will want to cover all sensitive vegetation during this time.
High pressure will build in for the weekend leading to sunny, dry and nice weather. Expect highs to range in the upper 50's to upper 60's through the weekend.