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Significant rain and snow will help put an end to the fire seaso - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

Significant rain and snow will help put an end to the fire season

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Montana has seen 1,731 wildfires so far in 2017, which have burned an estimated 1,079,332 acres as of September 12th - one of the worst fire season's on record.

The state is desperate for relief and the STORMTracker Weather Team is tracking a storm that will mark the beginning of the end of fire season.

A cold front will move south out of Canada on Wednesday, opening the door to much colder air.

At the same time, rain will develop in response to moisture streaming in from the southwest.

Significant changes will occur in the weather over the next three days: temperatures will drop below average and the state will receive the most rain it's gotten in months.

While the storm may not end fire season altogether, it will undoubtedly help.


Storm timing

Wednesday will be cooler, but there won't be much rain to speak of.

A few showers and thunderstorms will be possible east of the Rocky Mountains, however most places are expected to remain dry.

By Thursday, enough moisture will be in place for rain to begin developing across the state.

The heaviest rain is expected to fall on Friday and Friday night as low pressure moves through the region.

New data suggests the storm will actually linger into Saturday morning, with some areas still getting wet into early afternoon.

CLICK: Download the STORMTracker Weather App for exclusive weather updates


Rain/snow amounts

Confidence is high that the storm will bring the most rain the state has seen in quite some time.

STORMTracker meteorologist Mike Rawlins says rain amounts will vary from place to place.

Western Montana and the Hi-Line is expected to receive .25-.75" of rain through Saturday, while central and southern parts of the state will receive 1-2".

Some areas in central or southern Montana could receive up to 3" of rain.

Colder air arriving on Thursday night into Friday will result in the rain changing to snow at higher elevations.

CLICK: Winter Storm Watch issued

Right now, accumulating snow is expected at or above 6000 feet in elevation.

1-3" of snow is expected above 6000 feet, with 3-6" of snow above 7000 feet.

Anyone venturing into the backcountry or higher elevations should be prepared for cold, wintry conditions on Friday and Saturday.


First frost/freeze of the season

Temperatures are expected to drop into the 30s on Friday and Saturday mornings.

This will likely result in the first frost and/or freeze of the season for many locations.

If you're concerned about your garden or any sensitive plants, then you'll need to take precautions to protect them.

Some computer forecast models indicate temperatures could even drop below freezing at lower elevations during this time period, so it's better to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.

Snow levels will also be dependent on those falling temperatures.

Should even colder air than what is predicted move in, then snow levels could even drop down to lower elevations on Friday.

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

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