Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Great Falls, MT

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000 FXUS65 KTFX 021556 AFDTFX Area Forecast Discussion National Weather Service Great Falls MT 856 AM MST Tue Mar 2 2021 .UPDATE...
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Mid-level stratus exists up to the west side of the Continental Divide, and extend further east across central MT. Elsewhere skies are clear to partly cloudy under the westerly flow aloft. Expect mild temperatures, along with gusty winds this afternoon through boundary layer mixing. Overall forecast describes these conditions well, so a morning update will not be posted.
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&& .SYNOPSIS...
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Mild and dry conditions continue today, with gusty winds at times. Temperatures continue to warm through the end of this week with less windy conditions likely as well. A turn toward cooler conditions with increasing chances for precipitation is possible late this weekend into next week.
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&& .AVIATION... 428 AM MST Tue Mar 2 2021 (02/12Z TAF period) VFR conditions prevail through the period under a moderate westerly flow aloft with some embedded moisture bringing scattered to broken mainly high clouds. Isolated light precipitation and mountain obscuration will be limited to areas near the continental divide. Gusty southwest winds at the surface will increase again today, mainly across north-central MT with continued potential for mountain wave turbulence while some low level wind shear is also possible in areas where surface winds remain lighter. Hoenisch Refer to weather.gov/zlc for more detailed regional aviation weather and hazard information. && .PREV DISCUSSION...
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/ISSUED 428 AM MST Tue Mar 2 2021/ Westerly flow aloft continues across the region today with a flattened upper level ridge in place while weak embedded shortwave energy and limited moisture streams east across the Northern Rockies and MT. Main impact from this will be gusty winds, especially across north-central MT, under mid level flow of 45-55kts, resulting in 40-50 mph surface gusts along the Rocky Mtn front and 30-40 mph gusts further east across the plains. Moisture is very limited and mostly resulting in an increase in higher level clouds though some light orographically forced snow showers are possible along the Continental Divide in the Glacier Park area through this evening. Temperatures remain fairly mild today and should reach similar values to yesterday with lower elevation areas seeing afternoon temps in the mid 40s to low 50s. Ridging aloft amplifies Wednesday through Friday as flow turns southwesterly while a cutoff low from the Pacific moves by well south of the region. Some additional warming is expected Wednesday along with less windy conditions and less cloud-cover beneath the strengthening ridge. This continues through Thursday and Friday as the ridge axis shifts east across the area. Afternoon temperatures warm to about 15-20 degrees above seasonal averages Thursday and Friday with a few locations likely to see temps as warm as around 60 on Friday but likely below records which are generally in the upper 60s to around 70. Upper level trough from the eastern Pacific moves onshore Friday night through Saturday bringing some cooling and a more zonal westerly flow across the region by Sunday. Saturday still looks to be another mild day for most of the area before clouds and the potential for mountain precipitation increases Saturday night into Sunday. Additional Pacific energy looks to move into the western US early next week, carving out a larger scale upper level trough and bringing an overall turn toward cooler temperatures with increasing chances for precipitation. While there still is a lot of uncertainty with details, the overall weather pattern developing next week would favor widespread precipitation/snow for the region at times. Hoenisch
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&& .PRELIMINARY POINT TEMPS/POPS... GTF 51 31 55 27 / 0 0 0 0 CTB 45 27 51 25 / 0 0 0 0 HLN 49 28 51 25 / 0 0 0 0 BZN 46 19 47 18 / 0 0 0 0 WYS 37 3 41 0 / 0 0 0 0 DLN 44 17 44 18 / 0 0 0 0 HVR 49 27 52 25 / 0 0 0 0 LWT 48 26 51 25 / 0 0 0 0 && .TFX WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES... None. && $$ http://www.weather.gov/greatfalls

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