The Treasure State has seen some extremes as far as snowfall goes in the last 48 hours. From 18” at Lookout Pass to 10” at Whitefish to pretty much just a skiff at Big Sky and Bridger it’s been a tale of the affects of zonal flows being directed by the presence of the Continental Divide. Good news is that it’s snowing at Big Sky and Bridger right now and that it should continue to snow until around midnight Thursday at those places. Off and on snow showers stay in the forecast through Sunday for the Eastside. Westsiders will see continued snow showers until Saturday when an atmospheric river of subtropical moisture brings snow levels up to around 5000’ with 5-10” of wet snow above. Another wave hits Sunday with another dose of 5-10” (higher along the MT/ID border). Next week looks to carry on the unsettled weather on both sides of the Divide into the following weekend. Make sure to take a very special run tomorrow or this weekend for legendary ski filmmaker Warren Miller who passed away today. Warren had a very special connection to Montana with his place at Yellowstone Club at Big Sky. Warren's attitude to seize the day and make it happen is the true essence of the hardcore skier/rider culture we're all a part of. Make it happen and hopefully it's with some nice freshies! RIP Warren.
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Short Term Forecast
Below: 10" new in the last 48 hours made for Pow times at Whitefish!
West of the Divide:
Snow showers will be widespread across the region Thursday night especially at Lookout Pass and NW areas like Whitefish and Turner with 2-4" likely by morning. Special mention goes out to Snowbowl where orographic lift will enhance the snow showers overnight with maybe 5-6" overnight... Friday showers will diminish in the morning before intensifying in the afternoon with heavy snow showers (snow bands) possible along and north of the I-90 corridor. Saturday morning the aforementioned river of moisture will enter the region and bring wet snow to most areas in the neighbor hood of 1-4” south of I-90 and 5-10” along and north of I-90. Lookout could surpass these predictions as it’s once again in the best position.
East of the Divide:
Thursday night will see continued light snow at Big Sky and Bridger until around midnight when the cold front exits the area. Looking like another 3-6” of mini-freshies on Friday morning at those places. Friday morning will see a brief break before snow showers increase in the afternoon and evening with another inch or two possible in total. Temps will be noticeably colder on Friday as well. Saturday morning very brief high pressure builds before once again snow showers start up again Saturday afternoon (mainly in the SW) and last into Saturday night with perhaps another 1-2” at Big Sky.
72-hour Snowfall Map below:
West of the Divide:
Sunday will be an interesting day in the mountains. Another even bigger batch of subtropical moisture will enter in the early morning hours and the snow will become heavy at times by midday. Right now we’re seeing snow levels with the potential to rise above 5000’ but I will be watching this trend and will post updates. It looks like another 5-10” for mainly the NW areas of Whitefish, Lookout Pass, Blacktail and Turner with 2-5” elsewhere (lesser the further south you go). A reprieve from the unsettled weather is in store for Monday but then it starts back up with a robust cold front’s arrival on Tuesday that will bring snow (and colder temps) back in the forecast through Thursday. A NW flow sets up on Friday and looks to keep the temps cold and the snow keep on coming.
East of the Divide:
Westerly zonal flow will bring the remnants of the warm front over the Divide and continue snow showers into the forecast for all day Sunday. SW areas once again will see these snow showers with most other areas just seeing cloudy skies. A little snow each day goes a long way at Big Sky and it looks like that’s the pattern in place until Monday when things dry out a bit. NOAA is indicating a change in the weather pattern Tuesday thru Thursday with the passage of a strong cold front. Looks like colder than average temps and a decent potential for moderate accumulations during this time period. NW flow on Friday will keep the weather unsettled through the weekend.
West Central Montana Avalanche Center
Flathead Avalanche Center
Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center:
Geography Key :
WEST of the Continental Divide
Montana Snowbowl, Discovery Basin, Lost Trail Powder Mountain, Lookout Pass, Whitefish Mountain Resort, Blacktail Mountain, Turner Mountain
EAST of the Continental Divide
Big Sky Resort, Bridger Bowl, Red Lodge Mountain, Maverick Mountain, Great Divide, Showdown
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