BOZEMAN – A crazy weather pattern change is coming to Montana. Ahead of a powerful Canadian cold front temperatures Monday jumped into the 60s. Temperatures are expected to drop between 30° to 40° by Wednesday morning.
A strong Canadian cold front will begin to slowly move into NW Montana tonight and reach Butte between noon and 2 pm Tuesday, Bozeman after 5 pm Tuesday, Dillon after 5 pm Tuesday, and West Yellowstone around midnight Tuesday.
Ahead of the front look for scattered rain or snow for lower valleys along with gusty winds. Once the front passes rain will change to all snow at all levels.
The greatest concern with this pattern change is a rapid temperature drop which will lead to freezing of wet roads creating difficult to impossible travel hazards Wednesday. Snow, heavy at times, is likely Wednesday morning and with surface gusting over 20 mph there will be areas of blowing snow and lower visibility along with snow covered and icy roads.
WINTER STORM WARNING
The National Weather Service has a WINTER STORM WARNING up for all of SW Montana beginning Tuesday evening through midnight Wednesday.
National Weather Service estimated snow totals are: 4”-8” of valley snow in Beaverhead county including Dillon with up to a foot of mountain snow. Madison and Gallatin counties could see 6”-10” of valley snow with up to 16+” for most mountain ranges. Jefferson, Broadwater, Meagher counties look for 4”-12” of valley snow with up to 18+” of mountain snow. Butte-Blackfoot region look for 3”-8” of valley snow with up to a foot over mountains and passes.
Wind gusts 20 to 40 mph will produce areas of blowing snow and reduced visibility and wind chill values below zero at times.
Power outages are possible as most trees are loaded with leaves. Snow loading couple topple trees into power lines.
This storm will create difficulty conditions for livestock.
WINTER STORM WATCH
The Billings NWS office will be updating the Winter Storm Watch soon, most likely to a Winter Storm Warning. Check the STORMTracker mobile app for updates and our Facebook pages.
Significant if not dangerous travel impacts are likely between Butte-Bozeman-Billings-Miles City with this storm.