Healthy Early Season Snowpack Locks in the Cold

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Posted at 5:33 PM, Nov 10, 2022

A WIND CHILL ADVISORY is in effect for northeast Montana.
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY is in effect for the Rocky Mountain Front and the Continental Divide.

Winter has really hit early across the Treasure State. Much of Montana is covered in a blanket of fresh snow. Snow on the ground tends to lock in cold air. Snow helps with the radiational cooling at night, making temperatures colder. During the day, the snow reflects the sun's radiation minimizing warming. So not only are nights colder, but the days do not warm as readily as if the ground was bare. So the entire airmass cools, making it harder to warm when a warmer airmass or new storm moves into the area. This will be the case for the next several days if not week. Overnight lows into Friday morning will drop below 0 with clear skies and the blanket of snow on the ground. A bit of wind across northeast Montana and cold temperatures will create wind chill values as cold as -35. Blowing snow may make for some travel difficult Friday along the Rocky Mountain Front and over the Continental Divide. Highs will only be in the 10s and 20s. Some temperature moderation is likely this weekend, but the wind will continue to blow snow around in the mountains and across the plains. Areas like Helena and other western valleys will have light wind and inversions. Saturday will be partly cloudy with a few mountain snow showers. Highs will be in the 20s and 30s. The wind will be strong over the plains and mountain passes. Sunday will be on the cloudier side with scattered light snow showers and highs in the 20s and 30s again. A minor cold front is likely Monday with a few snow showers and a reinforcing shot of cold air. Tuesday will be mostly sunny with continued below average temperatures in the 20s and 30s. Wednesday there will be an arctic front moving into the state with a chance of snow but a likelihood of a major drop in temperatures. Highs on Thursday could be in the -0s and 0s, with lows between -10 and -20.

Stay warm,
Curtis Grevenitz
Chief Meteorologist