Spring might be on its way, but winter isn’t yet quite done.
The National Weather Service expects high winds from a strong Canadian cold front to flow into the Flathead Valley starting Friday afternoon, continuing with wintry weather into the weekend.
The NWS office in Missoula issued a wind advisory for the Flathead Valley and the Glacier National Park region, with wind gusts up to 35 mph through Friday afternoon and kicking up to erratic gusts of up to 50 mph through Friday evening.
The wind advisory is in effect until 9 p.m. on Friday.
Major impacts could include downed trees due to wet soils, power outages resulting from said trees, and potentially hazardous crosswinds, particularly for high-profile vehicles moving at highway speeds.
Flathead Lake is expected to be quite choppy, with waves reaching up to 3 feet. Strong gusty westerly winds are anticipated over Flathead Lake Friday afternoon and then a sudden wind shift from the northerly direction will occur which could cause hazardous and choppy conditions for small craft.
East of Glacier Park, there is a high-wind warning in effect until 6 p.m. Friday evening, with 20 to 35 mph winds expected and gusts up to 65 mph.
Temperatures are also expected to drop 10 to 20 degrees across Northwest Montana starting Friday, with wintry and slick conditions expected to return to Marias Pass, U.S. Highway 2 toward Columbia Falls, and near the Continental Divide from Ovando.
Along with snow, the strong gusty winds near 40 mph will cause drifting and blowing snow on mountain passes. The combination of the wind and the temperature drop “will make it feel very chilly,” NWS said.
There is also a winter storm warning in effect until 6 a.m. on Saturday for Browning, Heart Butte, Bynum, Choteau, and Augusta. Heavy and blowing snow are expected, with up to 10 inches forecast for some areas.
Logan and Marias passes are also under a winter storm warning.
NWS warned travelers to plan on difficult travel conditions due to high winds and blowing snow, including during the evening commute.
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