Northwest Montana Regional Forecast
Includes Lincoln and Sanders Counties (cities of Libby, Troy, Eureka, Yaak, Bull Lake, Noxon, Heron, Trout Creek, Thompson Falls, and The Cabinet Mountains)
Issued Wednesday December 12, 2018 - 7:10 p.m.
Wednesday night...Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers in the evening then snow becoming likely after midnight mainly north and west of the Fisher River. Snow accumulations of 1 to 2 inches possible, mainly above 3000 feet with up to an inch possible down to 2000 feet. Lows in the mid 20s to near 30 with near 20 around 5000 feet. South wind 5 to 10 mph with ridge top winds southwest 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 40 mph after midnight.
Thursday…Rain and snow showers likely north of Happys Inn to Noxon with a chance of rain and snow showers south of Happys Inn to Noxon. Snow level rising to near 2500 to 3000 feet in the afternoon. Snow accumulations of 1 to 2 inches possible below 4000 feet with 3 to 6 inches possible above 4000 feet. Highest totals along and west of the Cabinet Mountains. Highs in the mid 30s to lower 40s with mid 20s around 5000 feet. South wind 5 to 15 mph with gusts to 20 mph. Ridge top winds southwest 25 to 40 mph with gusts to 50 mph.
Thursday night...Mostly cloudy and locally breezy with a slight chance of rain and snow showers near the Canadian border. Snow level near 3000 feet. Lows in the mid 20s to lower 30s with mid 20s around 5000 feet. South wind 5 to 15 mph with gusts to 20 mph in the evening. Ridge top winds southwest 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 40 mph.
Friday...Variable cloudiness and locally breezy. A slight chance of rain and snow showers in the afternoon, mainly along and west of the Cabinet Mountains. Snow level near 4000 feet. Highs in the upper 30s to mid 40s with near 30 around 5000 feet. South wind 5 to 15 mph with ridge top winds southwest 10 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph.
Extended Outlook(Saturday through Wednesday)
Saturday…A chance of rain and snow showers, mainly in the morning. Lows in the upper 20s to mid 30s with mid 20s around 5000 feet. Highs in the 30s to near 40 with mid 20s around 5000 feet.
Sunday…Dry except for a slight chance of mountain snow showers. Lows in the 20s with mid 20s around 5000 feet. Highs in the mid 30s to lower 40s with near 30 around 5000 feet.
Monday through Wednesday…A chance of rain or snow showers in the valleys and snow showers in the mountains. Locally breezy and mild. Lows in the upper 20s to mid 30s with upper 20s to near 30 around 5000 feet. Highs in the upper 30s to mid 40s with near 30 around 5000 feet.
In-Depth Weather Discussion for Northwest Montana/Rockies
Issued 12/12/2018 7:30 p.m.
Last nights mess of freezing rain and snow has now left us and overall left us with much less snowfall in the lower elevations than what was originally expected due to higher than expected snow levels. Higher elevations did fairly well with most locations above 4000 feet receiving over a foot of wet snow. Next system will be moving in overnight but this will be focused more so over Lincoln County with much of Sanders County largely missing out except for those locations from Noxon north. Gusty winds will continue to blow across the higher elevations due to a strong low level jet and a tight surface pressure gradient between a surface high to our south and a surface low passing through southern Canada. A break in the action looks plausable over the weekend a low amplitude upper level ridge slides across the region and pushes the storm track to the north into Canada. Mild conditions look to continue with above average temperatures and higher than normal snow levels persisting across the region. As we head into next week the mild and unsettled pattern looks to continue with periods of gusty winds in the valleys, strong winds in the higher elevations, higher terrain snowfall and lower elevation rain or rain/snow mix. Overall there is no real end in sight to the mild pattern but at least the mountain snowpack will increase some and make up some of the deficit that we are currently in.