BOZEMAN – Some of the coldest temperatures of the winter season will hit SW Montana again tonight. Conditions look favorable for most (not all) lower and higher valleys to fall to zero and even below zero Thursday morning.
Clear skies, snow on the ground, and little to no wind will allow for radiational cooling to develop. This means what little heat we gathered Wednesday afternoon will be lost after sunset. Colder air has greater density and will fall to the lower levels near the surface.
Those valleys that are above 5,500’ will likely see morning lows Thursday fall down between -10 to -20 below zero and those extremely cold prone areas like West Yellowstone, Elk Park, Wisdom, Lakeview could see lows between -20 to -30 below zero.
A pattern change will begin to develop by Thursday afternoon as a warm front moves in from the West. This will kick temperatures up into the 30s Thursday and 40s by Friday and Saturday. Temperatures should be very close to normal beginning Friday for SW Montana.
Unfortunately, that warm up will be short-lived. The next weather maker will drop a cold front through Montana Sunday afternoon with increasing snow and colder air Sunday night into Monday morning.
6 to 10 day outlook through the end of February is calling for colder than normal temperatures across the entire state. Precipitation trends will likely be well below normal across the far western half of the country and far western Montana. East of the divide precipitation could be near to slightly above normal.