A WINTER STORM WATCH has been expanded for more of central and northern Montana, including Helena and Great Falls for Friday through Sunday.
A HIGH WIND WARNING has been issued for much of central Montana for Thursday.
This snowstorm will break records for snowfall and also cold temperatures here in late September. A storm like this would be extreme in January, but here we are less than a week from the final day of summer. Travel will likely become extremely difficult in a slushy accumulation on the road, and difficult visibility because of heavy snow and wind. Some roads may become impassable. Mountain passes will be extremely difficult to navigate through snow and wind. Heavy snow and wind could also create power outages, as the weight of the snow on trees with leaves could bring trees and thus powerlines down. Because of the duration of this storm and the amount of snow likely to fall, power may not be restored in some locations for more than a day. Unusual cold and bitter wind chills are likely. Please use the next few days of relative calm weather to prepare for the incoming storm.
Thursday a cold front will move through the state with wind swept rain showers and a few embedded rumbles of thunder. As the front passes through winds could increase to between 20-40mph with gusts up to 65mph especially off of the Rocky Mountain Front. Highs will be in the 40s and 50s. Late Friday is when the storm will start spreading rain and lowering snow levels across the northern and western areas in the state. Overnight Friday into Saturday morning, snow levels will begin to drop down to the lower elevations. This transition from rain to snow will occur from north to south from Friday night into Saturday. By Saturday afternoon snow will likely be falling in the plains and valleys of western and central Montana. Snow will continue through Saturday night into Sunday. Rain will fall in the eastern part of Montana but that snow will continue to accumulate through Sunday afternoon. There is the possibility of snow into Monday as well. Colder than normal temperatures will continue into midweek which will keep the snow on the ground. Temperatures will warm slightly through the end of the week which will begin a slow melting process.
Stay tuned for the latest forecast as we get closer to the storm.