Winter Storm Watch:

Issued at: 3:20 PM MST on December 19, 2014, expires at: 4:00 AM PST on December 22, 2014
  • ...Winter Storm Watch in effect from Saturday evening through late Sunday night... The National Weather Service in Missoula has issued a Winter Storm Watch...which is in effect from Saturday evening through late Sunday night.
  • Impacts/timing: potential for heavy wet snow to impact area passes Saturday night through Sunday. Heavy snow followed by rain could make mountain roads very difficult or dangerous to travel on at times. Lookout, Lolo, and lost trail passes will most likely be impacted, with impacts also possible at Homestake, McDonald, and marias passes. Many higher elevation locations such as Elk City, Dixie, and Gilmore Summit in central Idaho, and Georgetown Lake and Seeley Lake in Montana could receive several inches of snow also.
  • Snow accumulations: lookout, Lolo, and lost trail passes will be most impacted with potential snow accumulations 6 - 12 inches in 24 hours. Homestake, McDonald, and marias passes could potentially have 2 - 8 inches in 24 hours.
  • Locations impacted include...Dixie...Elk City...Bannock Pass... Highway 28 Tendoy to Lone Pine...Highway 93 Lost Trail Pass to Gibbonsville...Lemhi Pass...bad Rock Canyon...Essex... Highway 83 Bigfork to Swan Lake...Marias Pass...Polebridge... Evaro hill... I-90 Lookout Pass to Haugan...Highway 93 Sula to Lost Trail Pass...Lolo Pass...Butte...Georgetown Lake... Highway 12 Garrison to Elliston...Homestake pass...MacDonald Pass...Highway 83 Seeley Lake to Condon...I-90 East Missoula to Bearmouth Precautionary/preparedness actions... A Winter Storm Watch means there is a potential for significant snow...sleet...or ice accumulations that may impact travel. Continue to monitor the latest forecasts.

First Alert 48 Hour Forecast

Saturday starts off with dry skies, but by the afternoon wet weather returns to northwest Montana.  Southwest Montana stays dry all day with partial sunshine.  High temperatures end up a touch above average in the mid 30s.
By Saturday night, the entire region runs into the shower activity.  This is a relatively warm system, so the valleys are mainly staring at rain.  Mountain passes will get pummeled by snow.  Travel over our mountain passes will be tough on Sunday.

Monday and Tuesday appear to be relatively quiet days with just some isolated shower activity.

The potential still stands for a more potent snow storm sometime between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  This one will bring enough cold air with it for all valleys to have a good chance at shoveling some snow.  Nice little Christmas present from Old Man Winter...

adam painter Watch Meteorologist Adam Painter weekends on the NEWS AT 10. More Details


First Alert Meteorologists

mark heyka

Mark Heyka

Mark Heyka received a B.A. in broadcast journalism from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas.

brooke foster

Brooke Foster

Brooke Foster joined the NBC Montana team in March of 2006.

Matt Gray

Matt Gray

Matt joined the NBC Montana weather team in July 2013 after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in meteorology.