Positively Pacific

Maritime-Tropical air mass is on the way to Montana
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Posted at 8:10 AM, Mar 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 10:26:32-05

A HIGH WIND WARNING is in effect for the areas in the wind advisory yesterday, as well as some new areas that were added. Some included in this warning are Judith Gap, Livingston, Beartooth Foothills, Northern Sweet Grass, Melville Foothills, and Southern Wheatland. The main concern in this outlook is strong and gusty winds. Already strong winds will increase Friday evening from Livingston to Big Timber and over the Beartooth Foothills. The gusty winds will spread north into Judith Gap late Friday night. Strong gusty winds will continue over these areas into Sunday morning. The strongest winds are expected Saturday morning when gusts could be 65 to 70 mph over Livingston and Nye, with 60 mph in the other areas. The direction that these winds are coming from will produce strong crosswinds, making travel difficult along Interstate 90 from Livingston to Big Timber and roads along the Beartooth Foothills. The strong crosswinds will also affect Highway 191 from Big Timber through Judith Gap. Driving is extremely difficult in these conditions, especially for high profile vehicles. Use extra caution and consider postponing travel until the winds subside, or take an alternate route.

A warming trend continues across the Northern Rockies today as a ridge of high pressure amplifies across the region. Cloud cover will increase through the afternoon as a weak pacific wave approaches into eastern Washington. Showers return tonight into Saturday morning, with snow level rising to around 3,500 feet. Shower activity will focus across northwest Montana, with isolated activity across north central Idaho and west-central Montana. A wintry mix of rain and snow, with isolated pockets of freezing rain is possible for valley locations below 3,500 feet. Be prepared for variable driving conditions Saturday morning, especially across northwest Montana. A progressive weather pattern will take shape Sunday through next week. There actually could be quite a bit of mountain snowfall. Snow levels will fluctuate between 3,000 and 5,000 feet as pacific cold fronts pass through. Given the increasing sun angle, travel impacts associated with snowfall will likely be limited to mountain passes during the daylight hours. The first organized Pacific trough will arrive early Sunday morning. Initially, snow levels will be around 4,500 feet as southwesterly flow increases ahead of an approaching cold front. Pockets of freezing rain are once again a concern across valley locations Sunday morning. Snow levels will fall to 3,000 feet Sunday afternoon and evening as the cold front passes. Variable winter driving conditions will develop across mountain passes as convective snow showers develop Sunday afternoon. The Clearwater, Bitteroot, Cabinet, Swan, and Mission Mountains may receive 3 to 7 inches of snow through Sunday evening. On Tuesday, a short lived atmospheric river will impact the Northern Rockies as a robust pacific trough swings across the Pacific Northwest. Widespread precipitation will develop Tuesday morning as subtropical moisture arrives in southwesterly flow. Snow levels will rise above 5,000 feet across west-central Montana and north-central Idaho and above 4,500 feet across northwest Montana through Tuesday afternoon. Precipitation will focus along the Idaho/Montana border and in Glacier Park region, where the probability remains high for at least 1 inch or more of precipitation. With mild temperatures at low elevations, the threat of rock slides and ponding of water on roadways continues to be a concern. Snow levels will crash back down to valley floors Tuesday night into Wednesday. Snow shower activity will continue into Wednesday, with accumulating snow focusing mainly across mountain areas. Minor accumulations are possible across valley locations by Wednesday morning.

As always:
A could day is no match for a sunny disposition.

Be nice to each other and have a fabulous weekend!

- Trey Tonnessen -