A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY is in effect for the mountains of western and central Montana into Tuesday.
The Pacific is loaded with storm systems, big ones, and these low pressures are hitting the Pacific Coast and areas west of the Continental Divide pretty hard. There has been an abundance of rain and mountain snow across most of the West but Montana is not getting in on much of the action. This pattern is more like an El Nino than a La Nina, and Montana is in a pattern with mild and drier conditions. Now there has been a little precipitation and some areas like the valleys and the Hi-Line have had some cold air trapped in the lower elevations but overall the weather has been quiet tepid. One of these big storms coming in from the Pacific is moving through the West and coming into Montana, but really only a fragment of this larger storm will hit Big Sky Country. A little snow is coming down in the mountains and a mix of snow, rain and ice will fall in the lower elevations. North-central Montana was hit hard by freezing rain last week, and there could be a glaze of ice Monday night into Tuesday morning. About 1-3" of snow will accumulate in the mountains. This is a weak and fast moving storm that will be clearing through Tuesday morning. By the afternoon skies will be mostly sunny with temperatures in the 30s and 40s. For the rest of this week the weather will be quiet. There will be some colder air in the valleys with inversions forming, but highs will be in the 20s and 30s. The plains will be windy and warmer with highs in the 40s. Northeast Montana on the Hi-Line will also be a bit colder with highs in the 10s and 20s. The rest of the week will be dry with partly to mostly cloudy skies. This weekend is the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday and quiet weather will continue. Another fraction of a bigger Pacific storm could bring a few flakes or drops to parts of the state Saturday and then again Sunday night, but most of the weekend will be mild and a little windy. Highs will be in the 30s and 40s. January thus far has been more like a "thaw" and that will continue for Montana for the forseeable future.