BOZEMAN – Our first Arctic event of the season arrives this evening. A strong cold front is digging through Montana from north to south Wednesday producing snow, gusty winds, and much colder temperatures.
The greatest hazard for SW Montana, especially I-90 between Butte and Bozeman, will be rain changing to snow with an abrupt temperature drop. This could produce flash freezing of wet roads and create very icy road surfaces tonight into Thursday morning.
Increasing snow will impact SW Montana between 6 pm and midnight Wednesday and taper off overnight with clearing skies by late Thursday morning.
The National Weather Service issued a WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY for most of SW Montana now through 10 am Thursday.
General snow accumulations of 1”-3” is possible for lower valleys with up to 6” for mountains and passes. Amounts will vary greatly with this storm.
We will be between storms Thursday afternoon through Friday afternoon, but temperatures will be much colder beginning tonight into Thursday.
The National Weather Service has a WINTER STORM WARNING up for the northern Front Range, Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, and between Havre and Glasgow.
Mountain snow 10"-15" is possible for the backcountry areas near Cooke City and Red Lodge along with wind gusts to 30+mph.
Storm #2 will increase snow over Montana from West to East Friday afternoon through Saturday. Greatest snowfall should be for west-central to central areas of the state. SW Montana will see mountain snow from this storm, but lower valleys will likely see a few inches.
The colder air will in place as this second storm over-runs the state. Snow should be on the powdery side which can be easily blown around and drift.
Once this storm exits the state and skies begin to clear Sunday into Monday temperatures will be very cold for late October and locally, we should see below zero lows. In fact, record lows are possible Friday through Monday, but the coldest lows will be Sunday and Monday mornings.
General big game season starts this weekend, and the current forecast will have hunters very excited to get out and fill their tags. Just a word of caution to all hunters. Be prepared for extreme cold, wind, below zero wind chills, and snow.