Snow totals increase along Divide this weekend as cold air spills over

Impacts include reduced visibility, slick roads
Posted at 3:46 PM, Oct 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-17 15:23:11-04

A Canadian cold front moves over North-Central Montana Friday night into Saturday morning.

Like most fronts moving in from the north over Central MT, there is a lot depending on how much/ how far that cold air makes it into Western Montana over the Divide.

We will likely see cold air spill over into valleys along the Divide.

This colder air mixed with incoming moisture means snow is in the forecast for these areas.

A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for areas along the Divide including: West Glacier, Essex, Polebridge, MT-83 including Big Fork, Seeley/ Swan Lakes, valleys east of Missoula along I-90 and HWY-200, and Philipsburg/Sapphire Mountains until noon Saturday.

The snow totals will be less than 5” in lower elevation valleys (Seeley/Swan areas could get closer to 4”), but the impacts are those on roadways.

If you plan to travel anywhere close to the Divide, your best bet is to assume roads will be slick Saturday and Sunday. Please plan accordingly.

It will also be breezy across passes along the Divide on Saturday, so slick roads will be coupled with low visibility at times.

While our Idaho/Montana line will see less snow, there will still be the possibility of icy spots in upper elevations.

As for lower elevation valleys from the Flathead to the Bitterroot, our chances of seeing snow accumulation are small, but there is a chance to see a few snowflakes falling.

Kalispell has the best chance to see about an inch of snow accumulation over the course of the weekend.

Snow will start falling in the northwest tonight as lows drop below freezing Friday into Saturday morning.

Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley will likely see a few snowflakes on Saturday night into Sunday.

Accumulation chances here are much less, and little to no accumulation is expected.

It will, however, be some of the first snowflakes we see fall this season.

Highs this weekend stay in the 40s and 50s in valleys and in the mid 30s along places closer to the Divide (where that cold air has a better chance of spilling into).

Lows stay above freezing for Missoula and the Bitterroot Valleys tonight, as Kalispell drops to the upper 20s.

All valleys drop to or below freezing by Saturday night into Sunday morning.