Weather Forecast: Sunny and cold Friday, active weather returns for the weekend

Posted at 5:27 AM, Dec 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 10:43:32-05

MISSOULA — A cold and sunny day is expected across the northern Rockies Friday with highs only in the teens and twenties.

Active weather quickly returns for the weekend. Light snow will be possible Saturday, primarily across northwest Montana.

Sunday into Monday of next week will be a time frame to watch closely. The set up looks like this: A warm moist air mass from the Pacific Ocean will encounter a cold arctic air mass moving south from Canada. As these air masses meet, widespread snow is expected across western Montana.

The main question mark for this system is temperatures in west-central and southwest Montana and how far south the cold air will travel. Right now, Missoula looks to make it into the upper 30s Sunday while Hamilton hits the low 40s. This means precipitation Sunday falls as snow or a rain snow mix. By Sunday afternoon and evening, the cold air looks to reach Missoula changing precipitation to all snow. Now how far south into the Bitterroot valley this cold air travels is still uncertain. Right now high temperatures for Missoula on Monday are in the low 30s with Hamilton still reaching the low 40s. This is something we will watch closely moving through the weekend.

Our active weather pattern looks to stick around through next week with snow remaining in the forecast leading up to Christmas.