Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Missoula, MT

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FXUS65 KMSO 252135

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Missoula MT
234 PM MST THU DEC 25 2014

.DISCUSSION...A mix of sun and clouds will persist across the
region today, with light snow showers expected to develop again
and linger through Friday. Little accumulation is expected, save
for higher terrain, where the mountains could pick up a fresh inch
or two come tomorrow. Conditions quiet down once again by late in
the day Friday.

The next big story will be the potential for another widespread
snow event starting Saturday afternoon and evening, then continuing
into Sunday afternoon. Models are in pretty good agreement with
showing a significant snow producing system. The question that
still remains is the track of the surface low that develops in
eastern Washington. The track of this low will determine where the
heaviest snowfall will occur. If the track keeps the low further
north along the Canadian border, as the ECWMF shows, then
northwestern Montana will see the heaviest snow, similar to
Christmas Eve. If the GFS is correct, the low will track
southeast through west- central Montana. In this case, the
Missoula, Bitterroot, and Mission valleys will see significant
snowfall accumulations. In either case, confidence is high for at
least widespread light snow accumulations throughout western
Montana and central Idaho.

As of right now, the areas that stand the best chance for
significant accumulations will be locations along the Montana and
Idaho border, as well as Idaho and Clearwater counties in Idaho.
This system could cause widespread travel difficulties with anyone
heading back home after Christmas. Stay tuned to any forecast
changes as we iron out the details.

After the snow begins to diminish late Sunday, an arctic frontal system
is expected to spill over the Continental Divide. Strong
northeast winds will accompany the arctic front, producing hazardous
travel due to blowing snow from freshly fallen snow. Bitterly
cold wind chills will also become a factor. High temperatures will
range in the single digits and teens, at best. Overnight low
temperatures could reach values as low as 20 degrees below zero
along the Continental Divide. Higher elevations will see warming
temperatures mid to late next week, but with intense valley
inversions persisting.


.AVIATION...A pesky stratus deck has been lingering around
northwest Montana this afternoon and could last into tonight,
helping to keep ceilings lowered at KGPI. Elsewhere, conditions
should remain benign, save for some light snow showers
redeveloping through Friday. These could periodically cause
reductions to visibility and ceilings through 27/0000Z at all



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