An early winter storm is heading towards Montana and areas of the Little Belt and Boulder mountain ranges could see upwards of 18″ by Sunday morning reports NOAA.
The snow will be a welcome relief for Montana, which has been ravaged by wildfires this summer. The coming precipitation should put a large damper on much of the fires burning in western Montana.
“While much of the area is going to see some much needed rainfall starting Thursday, the cooler temperatures will bring snowfall to the mountains. Areas above 7000 feet could see accumulations of 6 to 12 inches. If you have plans this weekend in the mountains, be prepared for winter weather conditions and accumulating snow. This could also impact the Beartooth Pass. Be sure to check back for the latest forecast.” – NWS Billings
The snow could also impact Beartooth Pass. For those planning on accessing the highway, you can check on conditions here.
Winter Weather Advisory
…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THURSDAY TO NOON MDT SATURDAY FOR ELEVATIONS ABOVE 6000 FEET…
The National Weather Service in Great Falls has issued a Winter Weather Advisory For elevations above 6000 feet for snow, which is in effect from 6 PM Thursday to noon MDT Saturday.
* Locations: Logan Pass, Kings Hill Pass, Flesher Pass, MacDonald Pass, Boulder Hill, Elk Park Pass, and Homestake Pass.
* Timing: Rain will change to snow Thursday night as snow levels lower to around 5000 feet. Snowfall rates will peak Thursday night. Mountain snow will continue through Friday, gradually ending from north to south Friday night into Saturday morning.
* Accumulations: Snow accumulation of up to 2 inches on mountain passes Thursday night, with falling snow melting on road surfaces during daylight hours Friday. Snow accumulation of 3 to 6 inches over the Rocky Mountain Lewis Range, and up to 10 inches above pass level in the Little Belt and Boulder mountain ranges.
* Winds: North 5 to 10 mph with gusts up to 25 mph.
* Snow Level: Lowering to 5000 feet.
* Impacts: Slushy snow accumulation Thursday night will cause minor travel difficulties over mountain passes. Wet and raw conditions could cause hypothermia issues for firefighters, hunters, and anyone else caught unprepared in the backcountry.
* Web Page: To see a graphical representation of this hazard, please visit our web page and mouse over the Current Hazards menu, then select Detailed Hazards.
Winter Storm Watch
…WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY EVENING THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING ABOVE 6000 FEET…
* Impacts/Timing: A dramatic change in the weather is on the way as a very cold and wet weather system drives the snow level down to near 6000 feet overnight Thursday into Friday morning along with temperatures plummeting 30 to 50 degrees colder compared to Tuesday (today). Slushy snow accumulations are expected on the mountainous terrain, trails and dirt roads which may negatively affect recreation or travel. Additionally, the
transition from very cold rain to snow and the dramatic change to colder weather will heighten the risk of hypothermia to those who are not well equipped or prepared for early winter weather conditions.
* In addition, a mix of smoke and variable visibility throughout the higher terrain will abruptly change to low visibility and widespread terrain obscurations. Again, it must be emphasized, this is a HUGE change from the current warm summer recreational conditions.
* Snow accumulations: 6000 to 7000 feet: 1 to 3 inches. Above 7000 feet: 3 to 6 inches are possible…especially over the highest peaks.
* Locations impacted include: Highway 93 Sula to Lost Trail Pass, Georgetown Lake, and MacDonald Pass