Dec 26, 2010 7:06 PM by Meteorologist Mike Heard
UPDATE: The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for SW MT Tuesday afternoon through Thursday morning. There is great potential for significant snow, strong winds. Valleys could see 5"-10" or more and mountain passes could see 1'-2' feet of snow. Strong N. winds 10-20 with stronger gusts will produce considerable blowing and drifting and dangerous wind chills. The watch will most likely be upgraded to a WARNING Tuesday.
An active weather week is ahead for Montana and most of the western U.S. First a strong W-SW flow aloft is pushing considerable cloud cover overhead with a some scattered hit and miss snow flurries and strong winds. This trend will continue through the next 24 hours.
A trough of low pressure with a strong surface storm will dig into Montana beginning Tuesday and slowly track eastward out of the region by Thursday. This storm system is likely to produce widespread snow late Tuesday through Thursday morning and may create travel difficulties at times especially over the mountain passes. The snow event will extend out into the pacific NW as well and through the central Rockies of UT, CO, WY.
Wednesday night into Thursday an Arctic cold front to push rapidly southward through Montana and it to should trigger scattered snow, gusty winds and pave the way for another round of extreme cold to move in. Along the Arctic front look for blowing and drifting to occur and at times very cold wind chills. Behind the Arctic front and with clearing skies Thursday night into Friday morning, forecast lows for our region will drop to -10 to -25 without the wind chill.
If you plan on traveling this week you need to pay very close attention to the latest weather forecasts for timing and intensity of approaching storms and prepare now for another cold snap as well. The STORMTracker Travel Watch link is up and running with the latest MDOT road report and web cams, and the latest weather information.