Posted: Nov 22, 2012 4:34 PM by Meteorologist Mike Rawlins
Updated: Nov 22, 2012 7:01 PM
If you're a die-hard Black Friday shopper, you won't let the cold weather stand in your way to finding the bargains.
However, for some, Friday's temperatures may prove to be a bit too chilly to wait in long lines outside.
A chilly Canadian airmass has moved south into Montana, keeping temperatures in the 10s and 20s.
With just a few scattered clouds overnight and early Friday, morning low temperatures will drop even more.
Some locations across north central Montana will be close to the single digits, while others hang in the low to middle 20s.
An area of high pressure in the upper atmosphere will move into Big Sky Country for Friday, allowing for a brief warm-up.
I'm expecting highs to reach the 40s/50s under partly sunny skies.
Gusty winds will be a concern for those traveling over the Continental Divide thanks to strong winds aloft blowing over the mountains.
This high wind energy will mix down through the passes and eastern slopes, resulting in wind gusts up to 60 mph.
A High Wind Watch is in effect for the Rocky Mountain Front from noon Friday until 5am Saturday.
We are still closely tracking a storm system for the weekend that will bring accumulating snow to Montana.
As our upper winds shift to a west/northwesterly flow on Saturday, moisture will be carried into the Treasure State.
Another cold front will dive south from Canada bringing much colder air to the region Saturday night and Sunday.
This will result in widespread snow showers developing over the Northern Rockies and adjacent plains.
Right now, I'm coming up with several inches of snow for the lower elevation areas, including Great Falls, Helena and Lewistown.
Higher snow amounts will be kept in the mountains, with some areas receiving as much as 6-12" through Sunday.
Travelers should expect winter driving conditions Saturday night and Sunday and plan extra time to reach their destinations.
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