Mild, windy and mountain snow in the forecast

Posted at 1:31 PM, Dec 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-16 15:31:16-05

BOZEMAN – The next 3 to 5 days will be an active time for stronger surface winds and periods of snow.

The combination of a stronger Polar jet stream and embedded Pacific storms will produce periods of snow mostly over mountains and passes through early next week. Favored areas along the MT/ID state line will have a higher probability for accumulating snow and include West Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park to Cooke City and back to the west over Lookout, Lolo, Lost Trail mountain passes.

A tightening pressure gradient will develop in favored downsloping areas east of the Rocky mountain front Friday into Saturday. This means surface wind gusts could reach or exceed 60 mph for central Montana counties.

Locally, SW Montana will also see gusty winds Friday and Saturday. Wind prone areas could see gusts 30 to 60 mph around Ennis, Norris Hill, Three Forks, Whitehall, Townsend, Livingston and Bozeman pass.

Snow accumulations over SW Montana are likely above 6,000’ but even the lower valley floor could see some passing snow showers Thursday through Tuesday of next week. However, the forecast temperatures are likely to warm above freezing and could even reach the upper 30s to lower 40s this weekend so any snow that hits the valley floor will melt away.

The National Weather Service has a HIGH WIND WATCH up for central Montana Friday afternoon through Saturday. Peak wind gusts could reach or exceed 60 mph and property damage is possible along with power outages.

The National Weather Service issued a WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY for travel impacts now through Thursday morning around Glacier National Park and between Missoula to Lookout Pass on I-90.

Snow accumulations around 2”-5” is possible along with gusty winds.