‘Ice, Ice Baby’: Snow Gives Way to Rain

By Beacon Staff

A warm front that will replace snowstorms with rain is expected to move into northwest Montana Wednesday evening, creating hazardous road conditions and potential for flooding throughout the area.

“There will be some real nasty, icy conditions starting tonight,” Peter Felsch, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Missoula, said in a Tuesday news conference.

As temperatures climbed into the mid-30s, the National Weather Service in Missoula issued winter storm warnings Tuesday afternoon for nearly all of northwest Montana and north central Idaho. Freezing rains are possible Tuesday night in the Kalispell area with rain expected to continue into Thursday morning. Total rainfall is expected to be about one to two inches, Felsch said.

Even if temperatures aren’t low enough for freezing rains, Felsch warned that rain falling on ice or hard-packed snow will create very slick conditions Tuesday night and Wednesday.

The rain also brings potential for flooding in the form of plugged street drains and pooling water on roads and low spaces as the snow melts through the week, Felsch said. Building owners, especially of flat-roofed homes or commercial spaces, should watch for dangerous snow loads as rain adds water weight to the accumulated snow.

Temperatures are expected to drop back below freezing around Friday or the weekend.