Posted: Dec 16, 2012 9:49 AM by Meteorologist Mike Heard
Another round of wintry weather will push through Montana Sunday night through Tuesday morning. Strong winds and periods of heavy mountain snow will produce travel difficulties especially over the mountain passes in SW Montana.
A strong pacific storm system with good moisture content and support from a very strong upper level jet stream will bring widespread snow and strong surface winds to our region. Computer models are depicting the best chances for snow will be over the continental divide and down into SW Montana. Snowfall estimates of 6"-12" over the mountains and 2"-4" inches for most valleys.
There are numerous severe winter weather statements from the National Weather Service in neighboring states of Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Wyoming and Utah. Travel conditions look treacherous across the pacific NW, central Rockies and northern Rockies.
The National Weather Service has issued Winter Weather Advisories for SW Montana above 6,000'. Snow accumulations west of the divide are estimated at 5" to 10" above 6,000' with 2"-5" below 6,000'. East of the divide snow accumulations of 6" to 12" are likely above 6,000' with 2"-4" for most valleys.
West winds will be increasing and become rather strong regionally. Estimated sustained winds between 20 and 30 mph with gusts approaching 50 mph are likely for most regions.
The combination of strong winds and periods of snow will produce hazardous travel conditions tonight through Tuesday morning.
High Wind Watch has also been issued for many of our mountain passes and include: Homestake pass, MacDonald pass, Elk Park pass, Norris Hill, Boulder Hill, and for Whitehall, Townsend, Boulder, Helena.
These areas could see damaging winds. Estimated west to SW winds 35 to 45 mph and peak gusts up to 70 mph are possible.
Blowing and drifting snow, reduced visibilities and high profile vehicles will experience vary hazardous travel tonight through Monday night.
Weekend Meteorologist Adam Bell will have an updated forecast on this storm system tonight at 5:30pm and at 10pm. Morning Meteorologist Matt Elwell will have another update on this approaching storm system Monday morning beginning at 5:30am and Chief Meteorologist Mike Heard will track this storm system Monday night at 5:30pm and 10pm.