BOZEMAN – A strong pressure gradient will begin to impact Montana tonight as a Pacific storm slowly moves into the Pacific NW and passes through Montana Friday night into Saturday morning.
Look for increasing surface winds tonight with the strongest gusts likely Friday afternoon into Saturday morning with the cold front. High wind prone areas (there are a lot of them) in SW Montana could see gusts 30 to 50+ mph, everyone else could see gusts over 30 mph.
Infamous high wind area around Livingston to Big Timber up to Harlowton is under a WIND ADVISORY and a HIGH WIND WATCH.
Peak wind gusts could hit the 60 to 70 mph range. Property damage, power-outages, and dangerous crosswinds will impact this region tonight through Saturday evening.
There is widespread ground snow across SW Montana even down into the lower valleys. Increasing surface winds will likely produce areas of blowing snow and difficult to hazardous travel with lower visibility at times especially for secondary highways and county roads.
This Pacific storm system will also produce another round of snow. Since it’s coming in from the west look for favored upslope areas to see the biggest snow totals. That would along the MT/ID state line, Rocky Mountain front (Helena to Glacier National Park), the Absaroka-Beartooth mountains, and Big Sky to West Yellowstone down into Yellowstone National Park.
The National Weather Service has a WINTER STORM WATCH up for Yellowstone National Park Friday afternoon through Saturday evening.
Snow totals will vary from 3”-6” in the norther half of the park and 10”-14” is possible for the souther half of the park. Island Park, ID could see 5”-9”. Wind will also create considerable areas of blowing snow in the watch area.
Beginning Sunday, a slow warming trend will develop and forecast temperatures are back up close to normal levels by early next in the 40s to lower 50s.