WEATHER DISCUSSION: A persistent, downslope breeze moderates temperatures throughout Thanksgiving week. At the moment, wind gusts should remain below damaging levels. However, the strongest gusts will be Wednesday into Thanksgiving Day, where gusts up to 50 MPH are possible for the Rocky Mountain Front. There continues to be cold pools in valleys, including the Helena Valley, where temperatures are 15-25 degrees cooler than the rest of the state. A weak weather system moves through Tuesday night into Wednesday, which should help erode some of that cold air.
Travel weather looks pleasant, for the most part, throughout Thanksgiving week. Light, accumulating snow is possible over mountain passes, including Marias Pass and Kings Hill Pass, Tuesday night into Wednesday. Otherwise, the disturbance brings hit or miss showers to the plains of central Montana. The bigger area of concern for locations east of the Divide is gusty winds creating areas of blowing and drifting snow. Warmer temperatures will help reduce snowpack by later this week, however localized reduced visibility is possible.
A more amplified ridge of high pressure builds into the region on Thanksgiving Day lasting into the weekend. Temperatures warm above climatological averages for the first time in a couple of weeks, with highs in the 40s and 50s by Friday. A colder, snowier weather pattern does look to return to the northern Rockies next week.
SUNDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy. Overnight lows in the low to mid 20s for central Montana, low to mid 10s for the Helena area and northeastern Montana.
MONDAY: Mostly sunny and a bit breezy. A sustained SW breeze at 10-15 MPH gusting to 30 MPH at times. Highs in the upper 30s for central Montana, with lower 30s for the Helena Valley and northeastern Montana. Overnight lows in the mid 20s for central Montana, upper 10s for the Helena valley and 0s and 10s for northeastern Montana.
TUESDAY: Mostly sunny, with increasing clouds west of I-15 during the afternoon. Breezy with a sustained SW breeze at 15-20 MPH gusting to 35 MPH at times. Highs in the upper 30s and lower 40s. Mostly cloudy overnight with spotty rain and/or snow showers across the plains. Light snow over mountain passes with 1-4" possible over Marias Pass. Overnight lows in the upper 20s and lower 30s.
WEDNESDAY: Slight chance of stray rain or mountain snow shower during the morning, followed by partly cloudy skies and breezy conditions. A sustained WSW breeze at 15-20 MPH gusting to 40 MPH at times. Highs in the lower 40s. Partly cloudy overnight with temperatures falling into the upper 10s and lower 20s.
THANKSGIVING DAY: Partly cloudy, breezy and dry. A sustained SW breeze at 15-25 MPH gusting to 40 MPH at times. Highs in the low to mid 40s. Continued partly cloudy skies overnight with temperatures falling into the low to mid 30s for central Montana, mid to upper 20s for the Helena Valley and northeastern Montana.
FRIDAY: Mostly sunny and breezy. Highs in the mid to upper 40s. Increasing clouds overnight with temperatures falling into the upper 20s and lower 30s.
SATURDAY: Partly cloudy and breezy. Highs in the low to mid 40s. Scattered rain and snow showers along the Continental Divide. Temperatures falling into the upper 20s and low 30s overnight.
SUNDAY: Chance of rain and snow showers. Otherwise, partly cloudy skies. Highs in the lower 40s.