A large winter storm making its way through Montana is expected to begin impacting the Billings area Saturday night, according to the National Weather Service.

A few shots of light snow are possible during the day, said meteorologist Joe Lester, with the NWS office in Billings, but the bulk of the storm is expected to strike the region overnight and into Sunday.

Forecasters are still uncertain about snow totals for the storm, but Lester said NWS expect Billings to get at least 6 inches by the time it tapers off Monday.

Farther west, and especially in the foothills, significant accumulation could begin earlier Saturday. Heavier snowfall is possible from Livingston up to Harlowton and Roundup.

Strong winds are expected throughout Central and Eastern Montana, and Sunday temperatures in Billings are forecast to remain in the 20s.

To the east, the amount of snowfall is far less certain, Lester said, but powerful winds will make travel difficult through at least Monday.

"The one thing we're really confident in is a lot of wind," he said. From Sunday afternoon through Monday night, "we're talking gusts 30 to 50 miles per hour, so it's not going to take a lot of snow to get a lot of blowing and drifting."

Anywhere from 3 to 8 inches of snowfall is possible from Sheridan north to Miles City, and roads are likely to be in rough shape for much of the event.

The heaviest snow appears to be tracking more to the northeast portion of the state, Lester added, and snow and wind are likely to continue well into Tuesday for the eastern edge of Montana and in the Dakotas.

"If you can avoid traveling, that would be advised these next couple days," he said.

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Morning Reporter

General assignment reporter for the Billings Gazette.