Modified Arctic Air Won't Last Long This Time

Posted at 5:26 PM, Jan 18, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-18 20:02:46-05

A WIND CHILL WARNING is in effect for northern Hill and Blaine Counties through Friday morning for wind chills as low as -50.
A WIND CHILL ADVISORY is in effect for most of the state through Friday morning.

Montana is once again facing sub-zero temperatures and dangerously cold wind chills but this will not be as severe or prolonged as the last arctic outbreak. Thursday night's low will dip well below 0 again to as cold as -30. While this is not as bad as last week's record breaking arctic cold, please use caution if you venture out into this air as frostbite is possible in a matter of minutes. The good news is this arctic outbreak will not last nearly as long as temperatures will slowly start warming up on Friday. Areas of light snow will fall across western Montana and up over the Continental Divide through Friday morning. This snow is part of a warm front that will ultimately move throughout the state. Snow could accumulate a coating up to 2" in the higher terrain. Late Friday evening there will be some areas of light freezing rain or freezing drizzle along the Rocky Mountain Front and out across north-central Montana. Just a little ice accumulation could create very slippery travel. This icing will be spotty, so driving across a large area of the state may have intervals of ice and other areas will be dry. While not warm, western Montana will slowly climb into the 10s and low 20s for Friday afternoon highs. Some areas up on the Hi-Line will still have highs in the 0s but warmer air will take over the entire state this weekend. Call it a Mini January Thaw because temperatures will warm above the freezing point for most. Under mostly cloudy skies on Saturday, highs will top out in the 30s to around 40. There may be a few isolate snow showers over the mountains. The wind will gust up to around 20mph across the plains. Sunday will be mostly cloudy and there will be spotty snow and freezing rain especially up on the Hi-Line. Temperatures will be tricky with some spots staying in the 20s, other areas depending on elevation and proximity to the mountains will warm into the 30s and 40s. More tolerable temperatures in the 20s, 30s and 40s will be common for most of next week. Besides the western mountains seeing some spotty snow showers, the trend will be for a drier period through the week and the final weekend of January.

Stay warm,
Curtis Grevenitz
Chief Meteorologist