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748 FXUS65 KMSO 272142 AFDMSO Area Forecast Discussion National Weather Service Missoula MT 242 PM MST THU NOV 27 2014 .DISCUSSION...Generally light precipitation, which has remained confined mostly to higher terrain, continues to stream across the Northern Rockies. Warm southerly flow has allowed temperatures in select locations, such as the Bitterroot valley and points north, experience a warming of temperatures into the 50s today. A similar situation should be expected for most of the day tomorrow, as Friday will be the final "warm" day before the arctic front moves in, with bouts of rain continuing in valleys through Friday afternoon. The models are still indicating a moisture plume that will be streaming into the Northern Rockies Friday night through Saturday. Snow levels will be fairly high during the onset of steady precipitation, so valley locations will experience rain while the higher terrain gets snow. An arctic front is anticipated to push into northwest Montana Friday night as well. This arctic front will cause snow levels to drop dramatically and create strong easterly winds. Rain across northwest Montana will quickly change over to snow, with snow production becoming enhanced along the front. The strong easterly winds will combine with this snowfall to create potential areas of blowing and drifting snow. With all of the above-mentioned conditions, impacts to weekend holiday travel could be great. As of now, our main areas of concern will be the valleys of along the Continental Divide, and also along Highway 93 from Eureka to Arlee. A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for these areas. A secondary front dropping out of British Columbia on Saturday will push the moisture plume southward. This front will cause cooler temperatures and snow levels to drop even further. This front could push the moisture southward enough to keep it from interacting with the arctic front over west central Montana and north central Idaho. These areas will experience rain changing to snow, but the amounts do not appear to be as significant as what northwest Montana will receive. A cold airmass will settle over the Northern Rockies Saturday night into Sunday as the two front push out of the area. This airmass will allow temperatures to drop dramatically, with western Montana having lows in the single digits to below zero by Sunday morning. North central Idaho will also be cold Sunday morning, with minimum temperatures in the 20s and 30s. Cold temperatures will continue early next week, with a gradual moderation as the week progresses under a general westerly flow aloft. There will be a potential for unsettled periods with rain/snow possible, although there is considerable uncertainty with precipitation timing and amounts. && .AVIATION...Rain showers will spread across the region beginning later tonight and continue through the day Friday. Some areas of lingering fog could develop at area terminals through morning, due to lingering mild temps and damp conditions. The main impact will occur by late Friday afternoon and evening, as the arctic front entering northwest Montana will bring about a significant change in wind direction, precipitation type, duration, and intensity for all terminals. Expect persistent inclement flying conditions through at least Sunday. && .MSO WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES... MT...WINTER STORM WATCH from Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon Flathead/Mission Valleys...Kootenai/Cabinet Region...Potomac/Seeley Lake Region...West Glacier Region. ID...None. && $$