Jan 13, 2012 4:30 PM by Erin Yost (StormTracker Weather Center)
MISSOULA- Big changes are headed our way beginning Saturday night for western Montana.
Before that, expect partly to mostly cloudy skies with highs in the upper 30s to low 40s and breezy conditions by the afternoon as a cold front approaches. It looks to move through Saturday evening with a rain/snow mix to begin.
Into Sunday morning, we should see that switch over to all snow, mainly for the northwest quarter of the state. Marias Pass could see 3"-6" with pretty gusty winds.
For Sunday and Monday, we'll see moderate snow showers with northwest Montana valleys seeing 1"-2" of snow with some areas potentially picking up 3"-6".
Tuesday into Wednesday is when our first big storm looks to move in. Lolo and Lost Trail passes could easily see more than a foot of snow with potential major impacts on Highways 83, 93, 200, 56, 2 & 37. In this time frame, the Seeley/Swan could see half a foot to a foot of snow.
Thursday and Friday temps could begin to rise and if this happens, rain, snow, freezing rain, sleet, etc. could all become possibilities in valley locations. This is something that will need to be monitored since it's still a little far out.
Models do indicate another big system for Friday.
Folks, the upcoming week will provide significant snow in the mountains, potentially 4' to 8' by the end of the week, even if valleys end up seeing mixed precipitation. Please drive and recreate safely!