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It's January Thaw 2022

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Posted at 6:01 PM, Jan 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-11 20:47:58-05

A HIGH WIND WARNING is in effect for the Rocky Mountain Front and East Glacier areas into Wednesday.
An AIR STAGNATION ADVISORY is in effect for some valleys west of the Continental Divide into Friday.

Typically there is a time in January when arctic air leaves, the snow stops accumulating, and there's a little pause in harsh winter conditions. There's where Montana and most of the West is right now with mild temperatures and little to no precipitation. This is a time when the atmosphere "resets" before a return to colder and snowier times. This is a time to "make hay while the sun is shining", and that's exactly what has been happening the last few days. More Montanans are out making use of the tranquil weather. That does not mean every location is equal, weather-wise. There continues to be cold air trapped in the western valleys with inversions. On the flip side, out across the plains and in the higher elevations wind and warmer temperatures are found. This pattern, including very dry conditions, will continue through the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. Enjoy it while it lasts because a return to a much colder, snowier scenario will come next week. Wednesday will be mostly cloudy with just a slight chance of a rain or higher elevation snow shower over the central parts of the state. A minor front will move through Thursday evening with a chance of snow late. It will be windy and mild over the plains, and there may be enough of a pressure change to scour out some of the cold air locked in the valley locations. Snow showers could accumulate up to 1-2" Thursday night in the lower elevations, with up to 8" in the Little Belt Mountains. Snow showers will wind down early on and the rest of Friday will be partly cloudy and windy with highs in the 30s and 40s. Another minor front with a few snow showers are possible on Saturday, but don't expect any accumulation of snow or a need to shovel/plow. Toward the middle or later portion of next week, harsh winter weather will return and should remain active and very cold through the end of January.

Have a great day.
Curtis Grevenitz
Chief Meteorologist