Dec 21, 2012 7:06 PM by Meteorologist Mike Rawlins
Montanans hoping for a white Christmas may get their wish after all.
For several days, forecast models have showed a couple of different scenarios that would bring light snow to Big Sky Country.
However, all the various solutions were quite different from the other, leaving us with little confidence in the weekend forecast.
Those models are in sync now and are showing three different opportunities for snow before Christmas.
A cold front will move south out of Canada allowing much colder air to move into Montana.
Light snow will develop along the front, but stay mainly north of Great Falls.
For the evening and overnight hours, the best chance for light snow will be north of a line stretching from Great Falls to Havre.
SATURDAY NIGHT - SUNDAY
An upper level trough just off the Pacific Coast will swing onshore, pushing moisture inland.
Combined with an upper level disturbance (shortwave) moving through Montana, light snow will develop over the Rockies and push east Saturday night into Sunday.
Light snow accumulation is expected with this band of snow at lower elevations.
The mountains and mountain passes could see as much as 6" of snow during this period.
The image above shows our hi-resolution in-house computer model, indicating snow showers and light snow Saturday night along the Northern Rockies.
Models indicate an area of low pressure at the surface will scoot across southern Montana/northern Wyoming on Monday.
Northerly winds will develop and light snow should develop across central Montana.
At this time, it appears this will be a fairly quick snow event, but some locations could see a quick inch or two of accumulation by Monday evening.
Our in-house computer forecast model is showing a couple inches of snow possible in Helena by noon Monday, with higher amounts in the mountains.
Those with holiday travel plans should keep a close eye on the forecast and plan ahead.
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