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Record Warmth, Flooding & Wind Before Snow Returns

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Posted at 5:17 PM, Apr 10, 2023

A FLOOD WARNING is in effect for Big Sandy Creek in northern Montana near Havre.
A HIGH WIND WARNING is in effect for much of central Montana.
A FLOOD WATCH is in effect for much of central and north-central Montana.
A FLOOD ADVISORY is in effect for much of northern and central Montana.
A WINTER STORM WATCH has been issued for the mountains of central and south-central Montana for Wednesday night and Thursday.

Record warmth has created flooding conditions but a big drop in temperatures with a return of snow is in the forecast. Monday has been the warmest day since October for most of Montana. The warmth through Easter Weekend into this week has seriously melted the abundant snowpack in the lower elevations resulting in high water and flooding. The only creek at flood stage is Big Sandy Creek near Havre and that is forecasted to rise above flood stage again on Tuesday. Most of the rest of Montana is either under a Flood Watch or Advisory for water building and pooling over low laying areas, and for the creeks and rivers running high. The melt will continue Monday night as lows stay well above freezing for most of the state. Tuesday will be another warm day with highs in the 60s and 70s east of the mountains. Some areas in eastern Montana will reach the low 80s. A strong southwest wind will howl for most areas east of the Continental Divide with some gusts exceeding 50-60mph. A very strong cold front will move through western Montana in the afternoon. Some showers and an isolated thunderstorm are possible along this front. Temperatures will drop sharply as the front moves through, with western Montana's highs back down in the 40s and 50s. Some snow showers are likely over the western mountains through the day. Cooler air will sweep across Montana through Tuesday night into Wednesday. Wednesday will be much cooler with highs in the 40s and 50s. There will be some sunshine for northern areas but southern areas will be mostly cloudy with a little light snow or mix of rain and snow. A new storm will begin to spread snow back through the state Wednesday night into Thursday. Thursday will be a snowy day for most areas along and east of the Continental Divide. The Big Belt, Little Belt, Highwood, Big Snowy, Bridger, Castle and Crazy Mountains are under a Winter Storm Watch and could see up to 2 feet of snow. Lower elevations including Helena, Great Falls, Lewistown and Glasgow could have several inches accumulate through Thursday. Highs will be much colder in the 30s. Overnight lows will drop below freezing, which will slow the melt down. Friday will be partly to mostly cloudy with widespread mixed showers in the lower elevations with snow in the mountains. Temperatures will modify back into the 50s and 60s this weekend. Saturday will be mostly sunny but Sunday will be mostly cloudy. Overall for the rest of April, temperatures will slide back below average for the most part. There will be several more chances at snow. A cool, wet April goes a long way to reducing the summer fire threat.

Curtis Grevenitz
Chief Meteorologist