Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) – This relatively balmy fall weather will transition into more of a winter pattern this weekend, as rain, snow, and strong winds will invade western Montana.

KGVO News spoke with Meteorologist Trent Smith with the National Weather Service in Missoula about the system headed our way.

The Weather is Going to get Very Messy

“Starting tomorrow we’ll have a warm frontal feature coming in bringing warmer air but a lot of precipitation with it,” began Smith. “So this is going to be kind of a complicated and kind of a messy pattern because places are going to start off as snow in the valleys, then transition to rain. The valleys that don’t transition breakouts and get that warmer air could see some steady snow with a couple of inches in the valleys.”

Hunters should be Aware of Very Strong Winds in the Mountains

Smith said along with the snow will come gusty winds, especially in the higher mountains.

“We’re looking at a lot stronger wind moving into the area,” he said. “Our higher terrain late Friday into Saturday, especially Friday night, we’re looking at the gusts potential of 50, maybe even 60 mile per hour winds up in the mountainous trails and mountain passes. So the combination of snow and that wind is going to make for some pretty dangerous conditions out there during that timeframe. So hunters should be prepared for that.”

The Weekend Will Usher Winter into Western Montana

After the weekend, Smith said it will feel much more like winter is here to stay.

“Once that cold front comes through, we are looking at the potential of some arctic air making its way down into the region by about the Tuesday time frame,” he said. “So we’re going from this really nice first couple of weeks of October to the first part of November to really feeling like winter with potentially some of the coldest temperatures that we’ve ever experienced in the first week of November. Come the Tuesday and Wednesday time frame, highs could potentially only be in the teens for western Montana, especially across northwest Montana, and lows are definitely going to be in the single digits to even maybe potentially below zero.”

With Saturday evening’s Montana Grizzly football game against the Cal Poly Mustangs, the weather may play a factor for the first time this season. Smith provided the forecast.

“Temperatures will probably be in the mid to low 30’s from 6:00 p.m. until the final whistle, so we are still looking at some scattered showers,” he said. “We have a 60 percent chance of precipitation happening, and we’ll also still have some gusty winds occurring during that time frame gusting up into the 20 miles per hour, maybe even a few gusts to the 30 miles per hour range. So the combination of those temperatures and the wind is going to create wind chill factors right around 20 degrees, so it’s going to be quite a chilly one in that stadium come Saturday evening.”

Those attending the game are advised to dress for the weather.

Montana’s Top 10 Record-Setting Wild Weather Events

Montana is named Big Sky Country for several reasons, not only grandiose Sunsets but impressive weather events as well! Ask any Montana resident who has scoffed at the idea of tossing a blanket or snow shovel in the trunk of the car ” just in case”. Here is a list of Montana’s Top 10 Record-Setting Wild Weather Events

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