Wind Chill Advisory Extended for North and Central Montana; Small Showers are Forecast

Bryan Dijkhuizen

Even though light precipitation is likely to reduce and cease today morning, an Arctic airmass with severely low wind chills is predicted to stay over the area until Saturday morning.

Southwest winds will pick up speed and bring warmer temperatures this weekend, although blowing and drifting snow will be likely due to temperatures that will stay around or below freezing throughout the weekend.

More Arctic air is expected to come early next week, bringing the temperature down even more.

Today and tonight, to be exact. As a result of shortwave disturbances and an Arctic border, light snow has continued to fall across most of the southwestern and northern parts of central Montana this morning.

This activity is likely to reduce and cease throughout the early morning hours, with a dusting to a half-inch of further precipitation possible in the afternoon and evening.

Aside from that, the chilly temperatures will have the greatest effect on Saturday morning, with the coldest air forecast tonight into Saturday early.

Lows tonight will likely range from the single digits and teens below zero in the southwestern United States to as low as 25 to 30 below zero in the High Line.

The Wind Chill Advisory for north-central Montana has been extended until 11 a.m. Saturday, and the Wind Chill Warning has been raised to include most of the Hi-line counties.

Lee-side troughing is forecast to emerge late Friday and bring some warming winds, although this will cause wind chills to deteriorate for a short period before the colder air starts to scour away.

Saturday, a ridge of high pressure starts to advance into the Northern Rockies as westerly flow strengthens and progressively erodes the Arctic air mass, bringing the ridge closer to the region.

Over the next several days, high temperatures throughout the area will gradually rise, with the hottest days falling on Sunday and Monday, when high temperatures will reach the upper 20s to mid-30s in the majority of sites.

Colder air trapped in the wind shelteredsouthwest valleys may result in maximum temperatures that are somewhat lower than forecast for these places, particularly on Saturday and Sunday.

For the time being, increased surface winds look to be the most significant influence of the period across north-central and areas of southwest Montana.

In particular, the Rocky Mountain Front, Montana Highway 200 corridor, and Madison Valley in Southwest Montana may be affected, as the windy conditions may result in flying snow.

Both probabilistic and deterministic models predict the possibility of severe winds across the Rocky Mountain Front and eastern Glacier County in the coming days.

An Extremely High Wind Warning was issued for Cut Bank and the Rocky Mountain Front late Saturday through Sunday due to the 90 percent likelihood of 48 kt+ wind gusts at Cut Bank and the 60 percent risk of 64 kt+ wind gusts along the Rocky Mountain Front.

Windy conditions are expected to linger through Monday, although they seem to be far below the criterion at this time.

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