A WINTER STORM WARNING continues for most of the area through the weekend into Sunday night and Monday morning.
This storm is going to shatter records here in Montana. The state is notorious for historic snow and cold, and this coming storm will reinforce that narrative. This snowstorm will break records for snowfall and also cold temperatures here in late September. A storm like this would be extreme in January, but here we are less than a week from the final day of summer. Travel will likely become extremely difficult in a slushy accumulation on the road, and difficult visibility because of heavy snow and wind. Some roads may become impassable. Mountain passes will be extremely difficult to navigate through snow and wind. Heavy snow and wind could also create power outages, as the weight of the snow on trees with leaves could bring trees and thus powerlines down. Because of the long duration of this storm and the amount of snow likely to fall, power may not be restored in some locations for more than a day. Unusual cold and bitter wind chills down to 0 degrees are likely. If you need to travel, make sure to pack a winter survival kit.
A major threat will be downed trees and powerlines. Widespread tree damage is likely as the heavy snow and strong wind overmatches trees with foliage still on them. You may want to avoid walking or parking your vehicle under weighed down trees. The National Weather Service in Missoula has even advised people to stay indoors and avoid the top floors of buildings because of anticipated falling trees.
The weather will continue to go downhill through Saturday as rain gradually changes over to snow. Snow will continue through Saturday night into Sunday. Sunday could have blizzard conditions at times as the low pressure strengthens with widespread heavy snow and strong wind that may reduce visibility down to near nothing. Rain will fall in the eastern part of Montana but that snow will continue to accumulate through Sunday afternoon. There is the possibility of snow into Monday as well. Colder than normal temperatures will continue into midweek which will keep the snow on the ground. Temperatures will warm slightly through the end of the week which will begin a slow melting process.
Be safe out there.