THURSDAY'S FORECAST: Snow, freezing rain; blizzard coming Friday

2014-02-27T06:00:00Z 2014-03-19T20:15:04Z THURSDAY'S FORECAST: Snow, freezing rain; blizzard coming FridayBy SHERRY DEVLIN of the Missoulian The Billings Gazette
February 27, 2014 6:00 am  • 

Good Thursday morning, western Montana! The National Weather Service says we have a chance of snow before 11 a.m., then rain is likely in the valleys - possibly mixed with freezing rain. Skies will be cloudy today, as temperatures warm to 32 degrees. Winds will be light and variable.

Tonight, look for more snow to fall, from 3-7 inches. Overnight lows will drop to 23 degrees, and winds are forecast to be gusty - as high as 23 mph.

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard watch for the Missoula and Bitterroot valleys, Interstate 90 from East Missoula to Bearmouth, the Highway 200 corridor from Bonner to Greenough, and along Highway 83 from Seeley Lake to Condon, in effect from 2 a.m. Friday until 5 p.m.

The light snow that develops this afternoon will intensify overnight and through mid-day Friday, becoming "quite strong" during the day, the Weather Service says. "Considerable blowing and drifting of snow is expected, with local blizzard conditions."

Winds will be from the east at 24-35 mph sustained, with gusts up to 50 mph in the Missoula Valley. Visibility will be a quarter-mile at times, and up to a foot of new snow could fall.

Here is the Weather Service's extended daily forecast:

Friday: Snow with widespread blowing snow. Temperature falling to around 20 by 5 p.m. Wind chill values as low as -5. Windy, with an east wind around 31 mph, with gusts as high as 45 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

Friday Night: Snow with widespread blowing snow. Low around 5. Wind chill values as low as -19. Windy, with an east wind 34 to 40 mph, with gusts as high as 55 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

Saturday: Snow likely with areas of blowing snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 13. Breezy, with an east wind around 29 mph, with gusts as high as 43 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

Saturday Night: Snow likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around -1. Breezy. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

Sunday: A 50 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 14. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

Sunday Night: A chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 4.

Monday: A chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 21.

Monday Night: A chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 11.

Tuesday: A chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 27.

Tuesday Night: A chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 20.

Wednesday: A chance of rain and snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 32.

Editor Sherry Devlin can be reached at 523-5250 or at sdevlin@missoulian.com.

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