BOZEMAN – Extremely cold temperatures impacted the entire treasure state Thursday morning. Lows Thursday morning bottomed out in the -30s and -40s below zero and SW Montana lows between -19 to -27 below zero.
Wind chill values Thursday morning for SW Montana felt like -40 below zero at times around 7 am.
Why was it so cold? Forecast lows initially were in the teens and 20s below zero as forecast models showed skies clearing after sunset Wednesday. By 10 pm Wednesday most of SW Montana was mostly cloudy and light snow and temperatures were holding around zero. As a result we adjusted the forecast to reflect the slow down on temperature falling, however, skies did clear after midnight and lows crashed into the teens and 20s below zero. A difficult pattern to predict.
NEXT WEATHER MAKER:
The next weather maker is a pacific storm dropping down through Montana from NW to SE. Storm front is in British Columbia Thursday afternoon and will hit Kalispell by Friday morning and reach SW Montana by Friday night.
Snow and wind will be increasing by Friday afternoon and that combination will produce difficult wintry travel with snow and blowing snow and bitterly cold wind chills Friday into Saturday.
Snow accumulations should be on the lighter side for SW Montana with 1″ – 4″ for valleys and possibly 2″ – 6″ for mountains and passes. Just enough snow to produce snow covered and icy roads with areas of blowing snow.
This next storm event will keep temperatures well below normal and possibly below zero at night heading into the weekend.
The National Weather Service did issue a Winter Weather Advisory for Northern Montana Friday into Saturday. Snow and wind will produce hazardous travel impacts.
A WINTER STORM WATCH is also up for much of Western Montana Friday into Saturday and does include the Butte/Blackfoot region (Butte, Georgetown Lake, MacDonald Pass). Snow and wind will produce hazardous travel impacts.
WIND CHILL CONCERNS:
Thursday morning wind chill values were extremely cold falling between -20 to -40 below zero in SW Montana with a light 5 to 15 mph wind. The National Weather Service did issue a WIND CHILL ADVISORY for SW Montana east of the divide tonight through Friday afternoon.
Feels like temperatures at times could be colder than -35 below zero Thursday night into Friday morning.
City by City Forecast:
BOZEMAN: LOW: -3°; HIGH FRIDAY: 19°. Not as cold tonight dropping slightly below zero. Increasing clouds overnight. Mostly cloudy Friday with afternoon snow showers. South winds 5 to 15 mph and early morning wind chills colder than -20 below is possible.
BUTTE: LOW: -6°; HIGH FRIDAY: 17°. Partly cloudy tonight and falling slightly below zero. Wind chills overnight into Friday morning between -10 and -20 below or colder is possible. Mostly cloudy Friday with increasing snow showers by afternoon and breezy at times.
DILLON: LOW: 1°; HIGH FRIDAY: 25°. Partly cloudy tonight and cold. Light winds could produce wind chills colder than -20 at times. Mostly cloudy Friday with mostly mountain snow showers late in the afternoon. Localized gusty winds could produce blowing snow.
WEST YELLOWSTONE: LOW: -10°; HIGH FRIDAY: 18°. Cold tonight with partly cloudy skies. Mostly cloudy Friday with a few snow showers by Friday evening. Light winds to 15 mph could produce bitter wind chills colder than -20 below zero at times.