Winter Begins With One of the Coldest Nights Ever

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Posted at 5:33 PM, Dec 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-21 20:28:40-05

A WIND CHILL WARNING continues for most of Montana.
A BLIZZARD WARNING is in effect for southeast Montana.

A wind chill of -72 occurred before noon on Wednesday in Malta. Most of the state has experienced wind chills between -40 and -60. This first night of winter, officially, will be one for the record books. Actual air temperatures will drop to between -30 and -40 for most of Montana, with some of the coldest locations possibly dropping to -50 to -60. Wind chill values will range from -40 to -70 for most of the state into Thursday morning. Records will be broken. Thursday will be sunny but very cold with highs in the -10 to -20 range, wind chill values could still exceed -40 to -50, especially over eastern Montana. Thursday night's lows will generally be between 0 and -20 which is cold but not as cold. Friday, get ready for the start of some major changes. A Pacific airmass will be moving in with much warmer temperatures. It may take some time but gradually the arctic airmass will retreat and most of the state will warm up. Friday will be cloudy with some areas of light snow. Western Montana will warm into the 10s and 20s, with eastern Montana holding onto the arctic air the longest with highs staying below 0. Saturday will be mostly cloudy with a warmer wind pushing the arctic air out of the state. Highs will warm into the 20s and 30s, and a few spots may even hit 40. That's 40 above zero. Christmas Day on Sunday will be mild, windy and partly cloudy. There may be some snow across northeast Montana in the morning. Highs will be in the 30s and 40s with a few snow showers. Strong wind gusts over the plains could exceed 40mph. Mild, Pacific air will continue across the state for most of next week. Some areas on Monday could even hit 50 degrees. Most of next week will be mild, windy and partly cloudy across the state. That is something to look forward to but we have to get through the next 36-48 hours. Please be very careful with this life-threatening cold. Check on your neighbors, take care of the animals.

Stay warm,
Curtis Grevenitz
Chief Meteorologist