Posted: Nov 22, 2012 3:02 PM by Meteorologist Mike Heard
A complex weather pattern is expected over the weekend across Montana and those traveling this holiday weekend need to prepare for possible hazardous travel conditions.
A warm and moist west-southwest flow develops late Friday into Saturday. A warm front will push temperatures into the 40's and lower 50's Friday and Saturday and pacific moisture move in as well with areas of valley rain and mixed precipitation over the mountains Friday night.
Colder Canadian air will drop southward through the state on Saturday and a good clashing of warm moist air aloft and colder dense air at the surface will lead to rain changing to snow and snow burst could be heavy at times along with gusty winds. The rain changing to snow event will begin up north Saturday morning and reach southern Montana by Saturday night.
Snow estimates right now call for 6"-12" of snow over the mountain passes east of the divide and 4"-10" west of the divide. Valleys in SW Montana could pick up 3"-6" of snow by Sunday evening.
Strong winds will develop along the rocky mountain front and in wind prone areas here in SW Montana as well (Whitehall, Norris Hill, Livingston). A pressure gradient will develop as High pressure over the great basin clashes with Low pressure over the pacific NW and as the two fight over real-estate in Montana the end result is gusty localized winds. The combination of rain changing to snow and locally windy conditions will make for difficult travel in our area especially
Saturday night through Monday morning.
Temperatures will be mild Friday and Saturday and fall sharply by Sunday and Monday down into the low 30's for daytime highs. Morning lows start off in the 20's and cool down into the teens by the end of the weekend.
This temperature change will produce very icy roadways as rain changes over snow from Saturday into Sunday.
You can get the latest MDOT road report along with links to MDOT cameras and a STORMTracker weather forecast by clicking on the STORMTracker Travel Watch link.
I'll have the latest weather forecast for you tonight at 5:30pm and 10pm.