A HIGH WIND WARNING is in effect for parts of central and northern Montana through Thursday.
A WINTER STORM WATCH has been issued for most of central and western Montana for Friday into Saturday.
Harsh winter weather will return across Montana with strong wind followed by significant snow followed by an arctic blast. A lot of Montana will see at least half a foot of snow, temperatures will ultimately drop well below 0 bottoming out between -20 and -30, and wind chills may drop down to the -20 to -40 range. This upcoming arctic outbreak will be dangerous but likely will not be as intense as the record breaking cold and snow that hit Montana before Christmas. Thursday will be the "warm before the storm" as warm enough air will move in that some light rain showers may fall in the lower elevations especially across north-central Montana with highs reaching the 40s there. Most of the state will warm into the 30s and 40s with 20s in the mountains. A light accumulation of 1-3" will fall in the mountains. The valleys and plains should mainly be wet with the mix of rain and snow or just plain light rain. Wind will be very strong on the Continental Divide and across the plains with gusts topping 40-60mph in some places, possibly as high as 90mph near East Glacier. Friday is when the weather really starts to go downhill. Widespread moderate to heavy snow will develop for most of the state. Highs will be in the upper 20s to the mid 30s. Several inches will fall through the day with the snow continuing into the night. The arctic airmass will slowly spill into the state from northeast to southwest through Friday night into Saturday. Saturday will be much colder with areas of lighter snow tapering off later in the day. Total snow accumulation will likely range from 6-12" in the lower elevations with 10-20" in the mountains. Highs will likely top out in the 0s and 10s. That's not terribly cold but it will continue to get colder through Saturday night into Sunday. Sunday will be very cold with highs in the -0s and 0s. Overnight lows will drop down to between -10 and -20 with Sunday night being the coldest. Very cold air with highs near 0 and lows well below 0 will continue for most of next week with another chance at light snow on Tuesday.