MISSOULA — A winter storm system remains on track to bring some rain, snow and windy conditions to western Montana and Idaho today.
Snow levels will start above 6,000 feet Tuesday morning, then as a cold front moves through snow levels will begin to drop through out the day. Along this cold front, rain showers will develop across western Montana valleys with light snow expected in the mountains.
The wind will also pick up in northwest Montana as the front moves through. Widespread wind gusts of up to 30 mph can be expected. The strongest winds look to be felt in an area that extends from Eureka to Flathead Lake, here winds could gust up to 45-to-50 mph. For this reason a Wind Advisory has been issued for this location.
Starting this evening and lasting through Wednesday morning, rain will start to change over to snow for all elevations. Snow amounts will be lightest in northwest Montana where strong winds will create an effect called down sloping which will inhibit snow fall amounts. Breezy conditions will keep the northern Bitterroot Valley and Missoula Valley an the lighter side with around 1/2"-to-1" possible. The southern Bitterroot Valley, Hamilton southward could see around 2"-to-3" of snow.
Along and east of the Divide in west-central and southwest Montana will experience the most snow with this system. The Butte/Blackfoot Region is under a Winter Storm Warning where 3"-to-6" looks likely with higher amounts expected over MacDonald and Homestake Passes.
Here is the latest look at all the Watches and Warnings currently in place:
Winter Storm Warning:
Butte/Blackfoot Region (8 pm Tuesday - 11 am Wednesday): 3"-to-6" with up to 8" in the higher terrain. This includes, Butte, Georgetown Lake, Philipsburg, Homestake Pass and MacDonald Pass.
Winter Weather Advisory:
West Glacier Region (12 pm Tuesday - 9 am Wednesday): 2" in the Valleys with 6"-to-8" over Marias Pass. This includes, Bad Rock Canyon, Essex, Highway 83 Bigfork to Swan Lake, Marias Pass and Polebridge.
Kootenai/Cabinet Region and Flathead/Mission Valleys (2 pm Tuesday - 9 am Wednesday): Winds: 20-to-35 mph, Gusts: 45-to-50 mph. Flathead Lake Waves: 4-to-6 ft.
Skies will clear leading to very cold temperatures Thursday and Friday mornings with temperatures dropping into the single digits and teens. High temperatures will slowly warm with middle and upper 50's returning by the weekend.