After one last gap of summer in November, weather conditions will abruptly plunge Montana into the depths of winter.
Yes! Expect to trade your shorts and T-shirts for snow coats and shovels this weekend as Big Sky Country will become Big Snow Country overnight.
Friday’s unusual warmth will be replaced with blizzard conditions over the weekend as a significant winter storm is expected to move in.
On Friday, the weather system will start dropping snow across areas farther west, including across high elevations of Washington, Oregon and Northern California on Friday.
While shifting farther east over the weekend, the conditions are really expected to deteriorate.
On Saturday, northwesterly wind flow will draw colder air from Canada and precipitation will overspread Montana. Initially, in some areas, temperatures will still be high enough for rain or a mix of rain and snow.
But the storm will quickly strengthen Saturday night into Sunday, changing the precipitation over to all snow and turning in a furious blizzard with reduced visibility because of heavy winds (over 40 mph in open areas).
“Travel will be extremely difficult and dangerous across Montana at the height of the storm late Saturday night through Sunday, with snow-packed roadways and whiteout conditions expected,” as AccuWeather meteorologist Renee Duff says. “Strong winds, combined with heavy snowfall, will create a full-blown blizzard in portions of the state.“
The cold will make it dangerous to be outside. Temperatures in the teens and 20s will represent a temperature drop of 30 to 40 degrees over just a couple of days between Friday and Sunday.
The high winds combined with the snow will also make visibility very low.
Winter storm watches were in effect across much of Montana on Friday in advance of the system.
A large area of 6-12 inches (15 to 30 cm) of snow is expected, but well over a foot will fall in the higher elevations (up to 48 inches or 120 cm).
The storm will then head to Canada on Sunday night. From then on, lows will then plummet into the single digits and teens and temperatures should remain below normal into early next week.