The STORMTracker Weather Team says a very active pattern will lead to several rounds of wintry weather across Montana over the weekend.
Meteorologist Mike Rawlins breaks down five things you need to know about the forecast.
An upper level disturbance will slide across north-central Montana on Friday evening, producing a wintry mix. Rawlins says freezing rain is possible, mainly across Chouteau County. This could create very slick conditions on area roads through early Saturday morning. Farther south, warmer temperatures will result in just plain rain for places like Great Falls and Helena. Up north, much colder air will result in light snow with an inch of accumulation expected near Havre.
Another disturbance arrives for Saturday-Sunday and will produce light snow across north-central Montana. Colder air will slide in from Canada, so the snow is expected to stick. Road conditions will deteriorate as the weekend progresses, so you should be prepared for icy, snow-covered roads.
By the end of the weekend, some of Montana's mountain passes will have more than two feet of fresh snow on them. Rawlins says Kings Hill Pass and Marias Pass will likely record more than 24" of new snow in the next few days. If you're going to venture into the higher terrain this weekend, be prepared for extreme winter driving conditions and allow plenty of extra time to reach your destination. (of course, this is GREAT news for Montana's ski resorts!)
A cold front will drop south out of Canada for Sunday, allowing much colder air to move in across the state. Temperatures will be cold all weekend on the Hi-Line, but even colder air arrives for Sunday-Monday. Actual air temperatures are expected to drop below zero by Sunday morning, with some cities and towns dipping to near -25°. That's cold enough, but when you factor in the wind, it'll feel close to -40° in parts of northern Montana. Don't leave home without all your winter gear and be sure to cover any exposed skin to prevent frostbite and hypothermia.
The final round of snow is expected to roll in late Sunday and continue through much of Monday. That means your Monday morning commute to work and school will be messy. Things will start to settle down by Monday afternoon, but road conditions will remain slick in many places well into Tuesday.