Simon Smith’s weekly weather discussion

Wednesday, Jan. 24
A chance of morning rain or snow in the valleys and snow in the mountains otherwise mostly cloudy. Lows in the 20s all elevations. Highs in the 30s with upper 20s around 5000 feet.

Thursday, Jan. 25
Snow likely. Lows in the mid 20s to near 30 with lower 20s around 5000 feet. Highs in the 30s with mid 20s around 5000 feet.

Friday and Saturday, Jan. 26 and 27
A chance of snow showers. Lows in the mid teens to mid 20s with lower 20s around 5000 feet. Highs in the upper 20s to mid 30s with lower to mid 20s around 5000 feet.

In-depth weather discussion for Northwest Montana/Rockies
Issued Saturday, Jan. 20 at 6 p.m.

Not a bad day across the region today with scat-tered snow showers. Those will be dying away this evening before midnight leaving behind largely calm conditions and valley freezing fog and low clouds in their place. A few places may see an inch of snowfall but most areas will not see much if any snowfall to-night. For Sunday valley areas are likely to start off with freezing fog and low clouds that may give way to increasing cloud cover as the next system begins its march toward Northwest Montana. Unfortunately, like this last system, this system too will be splitting and weakening as it moves into the mean upper level ridge position which is currently along or just west of the spine of the Continental Divide. We may be able to squeeze out an inch or two of snowfall in the valleys and maybe twice that amount in the mountains but that’s it. There may also be some southwest breezes that pick up as the pressure gradient tightens some as this system moves through but again, not windy by any means. Zonal flow with mainly orographic snow showers will be the case for Monday with areas such as Bull Lake, Noxon, Trout Creek and Heron seeing more frequent snow showers as will the Cabinet Mountains while elsewhere just some scattered snow showers are likely. Not much accumulation is ex-pected with these but a few areas may pick up an inch or so. Shortwave upper level ridging once again builds overhead on Tuesday leaving a mostly dry and settled day as the next system begins to approach the West Coast. The Wednesday system appears to be splitting more so now in the models with the stronger portion looking to dive well south of our region so once again, not much in the way of snowfall in the valleys or in the mountains. In fact, snow levels may actually rise off the valley floors with the system splitting drawing warmer surface temperatures be-fore the colder upper level part of the system moves through on Thursday renewing the threat of snow showers. This system does appear to be able to shove the persistent ridge to the east replacing it with a broad scale upper level trough and a chance of snow showers before yet another upper level ridge begins to build offshore ahead of yet another cold upper lev-el low. Precipitation chances look to once again in-crease by next weekend as the pattern continuously looks to repeat itself at this time with no strong sys-tems on the horizon and unfortunately the overall mean ridge seems to be locked in over the western US even though the Hudson Bay low has largely been flushed out for the time being.
Simon Smith is a local weath-er enthusiast. More about Simon and up to date weather information can be found by visiting his website at www.simonsweather.