Missoula, MT

Snowfall and Cold Weather Expected for the Northwest

Bryan Dijkhuizen

Except for lingering mountain snow and maybe a stray valley snow shower tonight and Wednesday, this is the last period of calm weather for most sites throughout north-central Idaho and western Montana until next week.

As Wednesday evening rolls around, mountain snow will increase further, particularly along with the Montana/Idaho, and then spread eastward and encompass most of the region, including valleys.

Snow will then continue through Friday, accumulating in the valleys steadily but gently. During this time, the highest concentration of snow will be in northwest Montana.

However, snow will fall over most of the Northern Rockies area throughout the day on Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

It is almost guaranteed that mountain pass traffic will be disrupted at this period.

The models are changing significantly from run to run starting on Saturday so that the conversation will be broad in scope for the time being.

A deep low-pressure system is currently building off the coast of Washington State, which is being supported by low pressure extending from the surface up to 500 meters above sea level.

According to forecasters, the coldest airmass of the season will be found east of the Continental Divide, with a slight chance of frigid temperatures migrating closer to the Continental Divide throughout the weekend. Every day in our region will grow increasingly colder, with the coldest time occurring between December 28 and 30.

The majority of the country will have brief intervals of light snow each day, with the most favorable spots being north-central Idaho and northwest Montana.

To summarize, winter driving conditions, particularly over mountain passes, through north-central Idaho, and across northwest Montana, may impact holiday travel at times, mainly overall mountain passes.

Growing confidence exists that the Northern Rockies will see a long stretch of very cold to perhaps dangerously cold weather starting around the middle of next week.

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