BOZEMAN – The next 7 to 10 days will be another very active period. Several pacific storms will move in from the West and one major arctic blast arrives Sunday evening.
There are a lot of moving parts to this complex weather forecast so let’s break it down.
First, snow squalls are dropping through SW Montana Thursday afternoon producing scattered short bursts of snow. This will lead to wet roads turning icy tonight. Skies should slowly clear overnight and that will produce colder lows Friday morning and watch for patchy valley fog.
There are Winter Weather Advisories up tonight into Friday morning from Bozeman to Billings southward into Northern Wyoming. Snow accumulations should be light but enough snow to produce icy roads by Friday morning.
Next, another pacific storm will roll into the Pacific NW Friday morning and begin to weaken as it moves inland. By the time it reaches Montana this storm will become weak producing scattered snow and wind Friday evening into Saturday morning.
There are Winter Storm Watches and Warnings up across WA, OR, and Idaho Friday into Saturday. This storm could bring areas of moderate to heavy mountain snow along the MT/ID state line. Greatest impacts to travel will be over Lookout Pass, Lolo Pass, and Lost Trail Pass. Island Park, ID into Yellowstone National Park could see moderate snow accumulations this weekend.
An arctic front will begin to drop down into Montana Sunday evening. Forecast models have been consistent showing this extreme cold wave will linger over northern and central Montana most of next week.
Arctic air will slowly dig into SW Montana Monday evening. Coldest forecast lows -5 to -15 will arrive Tuesday and Wednesday morning. However, compared to northern Montana their forecast lows will be -15 to -30 below zero for the same time period.
Models are also showing this arctic blast to be short-lived for SW Montana. By Thursday of next week a new pacific storm will begin to produce a strengthening SW flow aloft and push the colder arctic air downstream. In fact, the entire state should see warming highs and lows by the end of next week into the following weekend.
Lastly, I would like you all to know that with a complex pattern shift will come changes in the forecast. Although models show the extreme cold next week could be a couple of days for SW Montana is not a guarantee. Please check back often with me for updates and possible changes.