A WINTER STORM WARNING is in effect for the mountain ranges in central, western, and southwestern Montana from 12am Saturday until 6pm Sunday. Up to 8 inches of snow accumulation is possible in the lower elevations, and up to 24 inches of snow accumulation is possible at the ridgetops.
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY is in effect for the Bears Paw Mountains and some of the lower elevations within southwestern, central, and north-central Montana from 12am/6pm Saturday until 6pm Sunday. 2 to 8 inches of snow accumulation is expected.
There are going to be areas of rain and mountain snow around tonight, with snow levels dropping down to about 3500 to 4000 feet by tomorrow morning. For tomorrow, there is going to be widespread rain and snow around throughout the day, with snow levels fluctuating between 3500 and 4500 feet. Below 3500 feet, mainly rain is expected tomorrow, but some snow may mix in with this rain at times. Between 3500 and 4500 feet, a mix of rain and snow is expected tomorrow, while above 4500 feet, mainly snow is expected tomorrow.
There is going to continue to be widespread precipitation around tomorrow night, and the snow levels will also get lower tomorrow night, with most lower elevation locations switching over to all snow by Sunday morning. Sunday is then going to be a wintry day as there is going to be widespread light to moderate snow around throughout the day, with the snow gradually tapering off from west to east as we head into the second half of Sunday and Sunday night.
In terms of snow accumulation, for locations under no advisory/warning (generally below 3000 feet), less than 3 inches of snow accumulation is expected. For locations under a Winter Weather Advisory (generally between 3000 and 4500 to 5000 feet), including Cut Bank, Great Falls, Helena, and Lewistown, 2 to 8 inches of snow accumulation is expected. For locations under a Winter Storm Warning (generally above 4500 to 5000 feet), up to 8 inches of snow accumulation is possible in the lower elevations, and up to 24 inches of snow accumulation is possible at the ridgetops.
This snow is going to create difficult travel conditions, especially Saturday night into Sunday morning, so please be careful when driving and give yourself plenty of extra time to get to where you need to go.
This is also going to be the coldest weekend that we have had since last spring as highs are only going to be in the 30s and low to mid 40s, with Sunday being the colder day. It is also going to be breezy on Sunday as sustained wind speeds are going to be between 10 and 25 mph, and this wind is going to make it feel like it is in the 20s/teens for most of the day. If you are going to be outside hunting and/or recreating this weekend, make sure you bundle up and dress for wet and raw conditions!
On Monday and Tuesday, we are going to have partly cloudy skies with some scattered rain and snow showers around, generally from Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning and especially in the mountains, as a disturbance passes through our area. It is also going to be warmer on these two days than it is going to be this weekend as highs are going to be in the 40s. Breezy conditions are also expected on these two days as sustained wind speeds are going to be between 10 and 25 mph, and this wind is going to be coming out of the WSW.
Another disturbance is then going to pass through our area later in the day on Wednesday bringing some more scattered rain and snow showers to primarily central and southern portions of Montana. We are also going to have mostly cloudy skies and chilly temperatures on Wednesday as highs are going to be in the 40s.
Partly cloudy skies and mostly dry conditions are then expected on Thursday and Friday as high pressure is briefly going to be in control of our weather. The temperatures are also going to warm up a little bit over these two days as highs are going to be in the 40s on Thursday and the upper 40s and low to mid 50s on Friday. We are also going to have gusty winds around on these two days as sustained wind speeds are going to be between 10 and 25 mph, and wind gusts up to 40 mph are going to be possible at times.