Significant Spring Snowstorm

Posted at 5:51 PM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-17 20:38:26-04

A WINTER STORM WATCH has been issued for the Rocky Mountain Front and the higher elevations along the Continental Divide for Wednesday through Friday.

While Monday felt like summer with highs in the 70s and 80s, a spring snowstorm will hit Montana in just a few days. It will be a classic weather swing for the Treasure State. Tuesday a cold front will work across the state with strong wind and falling temperatures more than anything else. There will be a few showers and isolated thunderstorms over central areas, with storms hitting northeast Montana by late in the evening. Highs will range from the 50s and 60s behind the front in western areas, to the 80s ahead of the front in eastern Montana. Wednesday will start off quiet but clouds will increase through the day with rain showers developing near the Continental Divide. Some snow will mix in over the higher terrain. Rain will increase in western and central Montana through Wednesday evening. At the same time, colder air will be drawn into the system with lowering snow levels. Rain will mix with and change to snow in the valleys and plains Wednesday night into Thursday morning. Thursday will be cold and sloppy with snow falling across much of north central Montana and down along the Continental Divide. The snow will accumulate several inches in the lower elevations through the day. At times the snow may mix with rain in the Helena Valley, but the mountains and mountain passes will have heavy, wet snow through the day. Travel will be difficult with the wet snow sticking on road surfaces. Northeast Montana will experience solid rain, helping the drought situation there. Highs will be much colder, only in the 30s and 40s across most of Montana. The mountains will only top out in the 20s and low 30s. Snow will continue Thursday night into Friday morning before beginning to break up through the day. High temperatures will warm into the 40s to low 50s. Snow levels will rise on Friday with the slightly warmer air. The storm should break up on Saturday with partly cloudy skies, still some scattered showers and storms, but warmer temperatures in the 50s and low 60s. Another round of rain and isolated thunderstorms will move through on Sunday. Significant precipitation amounts will really put a dent in the drought.
Stay tuned for updates on this storm as we get closer to the event.
Curtis Grevenitz
Chief Meteorologist