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STORMTracker Weather Blog

Feb 21, 2014 6:23 PM by Meteorologist Mike Rawlins

Winter far from over; next winter storm arrives this weekend

If you thought winter was wrapping up here in Montana, then you're wrong. Mother Nature has a lot more snow in store for Big Sky Country in the coming days and weeks.

Thanks for checking out the STORMTracker Weather Blog here on KRTV.com! We are busy tracking snow affecting north central Montana right now and we're already focusing in on the next winter storm taking aim on the state.

Bands of snow will affect the Rocky Mountains and adjacent plains through the evening hours. I would expect to see an inch or two of accumulation at lower elevations this evening and overnight. 2-4" of accumulation is possible in the mountains. If you're a skier or snowboarder, then plan to hit the slopes on Saturday. Teton Pass tells us they've received 30 inches of fresh powder since Monday! Here's the current snow depth as of February 21 for the Northern Rockies:

Snow Depth

Our next winter storm arrives Sunday and will develop as a combination of moisture and cold air collide over the Treasure State. Pacfic moisture will be streaming in from the west and very cold air will be flowing in from Canada. The two will meet mix together to dump heavy snow on parts of Big Sky Country beginning Sunday.

Here's what we're thinking right now: snow will start developing Saturday night over the mountains and become widespread over western, central and southern Montana by Sunday morning. Significant amounts of snow are likely with this event and travel will likely become hazardous late Sunday into Monday. It appears the heaviest snow will fall Sunday night and the GFS (Global Forecast System) model supports that.

GFS Precipitation Type

This is the model output for precipitation type at 11 p.m. Sunday MST. Notice the swath of darker blue shading over the area -- indicating heavy snow.

If you're an avid weather enthusiast and you like to look at raw model data on your own, you may have noticed they're generating some ridiculously high snowfall amounts for this storm. I think the numbers are overdone and are not representative of how much snow this system will actually produce. Right now, I'm calling for 4-8" at lower elevations, in the plains and valleys. 8-12" of snow is likely in the mountains.

Snowfall Forecast

This storm will also not dump the same amounts of snow across our viewing area. Highway 2 in northern Montana will likely see the least amounts of snow (up to 2" through Monday). Those living in northeast Montana will also likely miss out on the heaviest snow. However, it would only take a slight shift in the moisture axis to shift that band of heaviest snow, so we'll continue monitoring new data for possible changes in the days to come. Winter Storm Watches have been issued for Sunday-Monday. Click here for details.

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

Mike

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