BOZEMAN – A very active weather pattern to continue to impact the Pacific NW into NW Montana this weekend. Another fire hose of moisture is following the Polar Jet Stream from north of Hawaii right into Washington State.
Heavy rain will impact the Seattle area through the Panhandle of Idaho Friday night through Monday. Coastal mountains could see heavy wet snowfall as well and impact travel from Lookout Pass westward through western Washington.
Most of this moisture will lift up and over SW Montana with only a few chances for moisture locally. The first shot of mainly mountain snow arrives into the early morning hours Saturday, and a second shot of moisture in the early morning hours Sunday. A NW flow aloft will create periods of mountain snow with heaviest accumulations near Cooke City. Mountain passes will see some periodic snow especially Sunday morning in SW Montana with those passes on the Continental Divide having the best chance for snow and wintry travel.
The other side effect with a strong westerly to northwesterly flow and a powerful jet stream is stronger surface winds across Montana. East of the divide through central Montana wind gusts 50 to 70 mph are possible Saturday into Sunday.
In fact, the Livingston to Big Timber area is under a WIND ADVISORY Friday night through Saturday night with possible peak gusts over 50 mph. Wind highlights are likely to be issued for Sunday as well for this region as forecast models show another round of intense surface winds developing along the Rocky Mountain Front down toward the Livingston area.
Most of SW Montana will experience surface winds between 20 to 50 mph Saturday into Sunday. Keep in mind that if you plan on traveling you could run into just above everything weatherwise from rain to snow and gusty surface winds especially over mountain passes.
Temperatures with this west to NW flow will remain above normal through early next week. Normal temperatures this time of year are in the low to mid 40s but forecast highs are shooting for the 50s and a few isolated 60s Saturday through Monday.
Look for a pattern change to arrive next Tuesday with a colder forecast by late next week.