STORMTracker Weather

Nov 6, 2012 7:04 PM by Meteorologist Mike Rawlins

Major winter storm on the way; 1-2 feet of snow expected

A significant winter storm will hit Montana later this week, and we expect major impacts across the state.

For over a week, the STORMTracker Weather Team has been tracking this system using computer forecast models.

Now, we're starting to pick up on some of the finer details regarding the timing, amounts and impacts this winter storm will have on Big Sky Country.

Just so you get an idea of what we look at behind the scenes, take a look at the image below.

NAM Snowfall

This is the 12Z (5am MST) run of the NAM model for snowfall.

By following the legend along the bottom, you can see this particular model solution lays down over a foot of snow across central Montana through Saturday.

Here's the 12Z GFS model run showing accumulated snowfall for the same period.

GFS Snowfall

Yes, there are some subtle differences in the locations of heaviest snowfall, but overall, the two models are remarkably similar.

For meteorologists, seeing very similar model solutions time after time gives us high confidence in this being a major event for Montana.

The National Weather Service also issues a snowfall forecast and here's their latest numbers.

NWS Snowfall


  • Few rain/snow showers late Wednesday evening into Thursday morning
  • Light snow becomes widespread Thursday morning into the afternoon
  • Moderate/heavy snow Thursday night into Friday morning
  • Light/moderate snow continues off and on through Saturday morning


  • 6-15" at lower elevations
  • 1-2' in mountain passes and mountain peaks
    • Great Falls: 11-14"
    • Helena: 10-13"
    • Lewistown: 9-12"
    • Havre: 9-12"
    • Cut Bank: 9-12"
    • Glasgow: 8-11"

Snowfall Forecast


  • Dangerous travel conditions due to snow covered and ice-packed on all roadways
  • Limited visibility due to areas of falling and blowing snow
  • Frigid temperatures with wind chill values as low as -15
  • Possible power outages in areas with leaves still on trees

Stay with STORMTracker Weather for continuous coverage of this winter storm.


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