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Entries in Montana weather (79)


Western MT fire danger eases after wet spell

(MISSOULA)- Wetter and cooler weather may have ruined your weekend plans, but it has certainly helped with the fire danger. 

Missoula County is lowering the fire danger back to "moderate" from "high", after fire departments and other agencies reviewed the changing conditions we've experienced over the past few days. 

The change means campfires will be allowed once more, but burning of slash piles still isn't allowed.

Temperatures are forecast to ease back into the 80s later this week and the Missoula County Fire Protection Association is still warning people to be cautious, especially on windy days. They also remind hunters to make sure their warming fires are "dead out" before leaving their camps as hunting season gets underway. 

In the Bitterroot, fire restrictions will remain in place for at least another week. Ravalli County commissioners will meet again on September 2nd to decide whether to ease fire rules. 


Cold weather to continue for another day in Western MT

Snow dotted the landscape at the Apgar Lookout Tuesday- GNP webcam photo(MISSOULA)- If you didn't find your coat Tuesday, keep looking for it. Forecasters say another day of cold weather is expected on Wednesday. 

Montanans know it can snow any month of the year. But it was still a surprise when parts of the higher elevations were coated in several inches of snow on Tuesday. A very strong, and cold, Pacific front pushed through the area, pushing snow levels down to as low as 5,000 feet. Snow was quite scattered, except for the areas along the Northern Divide and Glacier National Park. That's where anywhere from 5 to 10" of new snow was reported. Elsewhere heavy rain fell, with some spots seeing up to an inch.

That's renewed some concerns about small stream flooding, slides and other problems, especially in the backcountry of the park and the regions surrounding the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. 

The National Weather Service says more high country snow is possible Wednesday, although heavy rain, especially over the Northern Rockies closest to the border. Conditions are expected to warm up Thursday. 


Colder weather raises backcountry danger

Stormy weather expected to develop in the high country overnight- GNP photo(MISSOULA)- People headed into the mountains of Western Montana will need to use an extra dose of caution, and winter gear this week, as a cold Pacific storm system will create some dangerous conditions for the unprepared through Wednesday. 

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the east side of Glacier National Park extending south through the Bob Marshall Wilderness, with forecasts for up to 20-inches of snow possible between tonight and Wednesday. NWS forecasters in Great Falls say the potent system is bringing widespread precipitation, combining with below average temperatures. That's going to push snow levels to as low as 6,000 feet Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Forecasters say that could bring up to a "foot or more" of snow along the eastern slopes from the Northern Rocky Mountain Front through the Southern Front and Bob Marshall to the upper portions of the Blackfoot watershed. The general estimate is for between 10-to-20 inches of snow before the storm passes. 

Wet mountain snow is also expected to fall through the high country of Northwest Montana down to as low as 5,000 feet. 

The turn to wintry weather will raise the potential for hypothermia for hikers, climbers and others who aren't prepared for the cold, wet conditions. It also means drivers on passes like Marias and Rogers could run into slush on the road along with reduced visibility.  


Warming temps could spark Montana flooding this week

NWS graphic (MISSOULA)- With a few exceptions, Montana has been fairly lucky this spring, as warming temperatures have been countered by a return to colder weather several times in recent weeks.

But now the National Weather Service is warning a week full of above average readings could finally start the spring thaw, and flooding in earnest. 

After snow and cold weather moved across the state over the weekend, building high pressure brought a return to 60-degree readings in some areas Monday. Libby hit a high of 66-degrees. 

And forecasters say temperatures could press the 80-degree mark before the end of the week, resulting in more snowmelt and a rise water levels on smaller streams and creeks. With the warm spell lasting through the end of the week, NWS believes the state's main rivers could see increasing water levels by Friday. 

At least at this point, we aren't seeing a "spike" in temperatures like we've had some years in May, where readings could pop above 90-degrees. 



Severe cold, more snow, pushing into Montana

More stormy weather is headed for Montana- GNP Lake McDonald webcam(MISSOULA)- It's back to snowy, cold weather for Montana this week, as the state gets another shot of winter weather and cold air pushing south out of Canada.

National Weather Service forecasters say light snow will develop across Western Montana and central Idaho through Monday morning, with areas of heavier snow possible at times, especially in the Bitterroot Valley.

But snow isn't the worst of what's coming.

Forecasters are expecting the most significant push of cold northeast winds since a cold snap pushed temps below zero for the first time in more than two years in Missoula back in early December. Overnight lows will drop into the single digits, and below zero, with cold blustery winds pushing wind chill factors down to dangerous levels on Wednesday morning. 

Temperatures are likely to stay in that range until late in the week, with lows in Kalispell down to -15 on Wednesday night. 

The winds and wind chills will be especially severe east of the Divide. NWS expects snow the first part of the week to be replaced with bitter cold by mid-week. Tuesday night's low in Great Falls is forecast down to -23. 

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