BIG difference across the state as warmer Pacific air is running into an arctic airmass.  A WIND CHILL WARNING is in effect for northeast Montana through Saturday morning for wind chills down to -45, and frostbite can occur in minutes in these conditions.  A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY is in effect for Marias Pass and off the Rocky Mountain Front for blowing snow reducing visibility.  And an AVALANCHE WARNING is in effect for the mountains from Missoula all the way to Bozeman.  After the new snow on top of an already unstable snow base, the conditions are set for large avalanches that could be remotely triggered in the backcountry.  Tonight, areas of freezing rain, light rain, and snow will fall close to the Continental Divide where a front separates the arctic air from the warmer air.  Roads could become very slick with just a little freezing rain.  Saturday, warmer Pacific air and wind will push through western Montana and into central areas with highs in the 30s and 40s.  Eastern Montana will stay in the arctic air with highs in the -0s to 0s.  Sunday, clouds will increase as a cold front drops south from Canada with a reinforcing shot of arctic air and light snow.  Accumulations will range from a coating to an inch in lower elevations, and up to 2-3″ in the central mountains.  Monday will be much colder with highs back down in the 10s and 20s in western Montana, 0s and 10s in central Montana, and -0s in eastern Montana.  Warmer air will start moving back into the state on Tuesday.

Have a great weekend.

Curtis Grevenitz

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A proud graduate of the University of Missouri, Katie chose to major in meteorology when a severe winter storm hit her college town, canceling class for almost a week. She was taking an introductory meteorology course and was fascinated learning how and why the storm came through. After college, Katie moved to Madrid, Spain to teach English for a year, enjoying the mild Mediterranean climate. However, Katie is no stranger to severe weather. Growing up in St. Louis, she has seen everything from flash flooding and funnel clouds to extreme thunderstorms and even thundersnow! But even with all of this experience, nothing could prepare her for winter in Montana. Despite the harsh winter, Katie is excited to forecast and learn about mountain weather patterns, and to live in a state with such fantastic mountains and top-notch stargazing. Katie is the meteorologist on Daybreak, every morning at 6.