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147 FXUS65 KTFX 210535 AFDTFX AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GREAT FALLS MT 1035 PM MST Sat Dec 20 2014 Updated Aviation Discussion .DISCUSSION... Update forthcoming. Have lowered temperatures a tad in areas where advancing clouds have yet to arrive. With clouds overspreading the area from the west overnight, temperatures will not drop too far. High wind highlights will remain in place, though wind speeds are currently below warning criteria along the Rocky Mountain Front. Latest RUC analysis indicates westerly winds aloft will strengthen considerably after 10z. Winter Weather Advisory highlights will also continue. Snow has begun over the Rocky Mountain Front and over portions of southwest Montana. Snow not expected to begin over the Central mountains until after midnight, closer to daybreak. && .AVIATION... UPDATED 0535Z. A strengthening and increasingly moist West/Northwest flow aloft will move across the Northern Rockies and MT tonight through Sunday. This will spread increasing cloudiness across the region tonight with precipitation and terrain obscurations spreading east over the mountains tonight and continuing through Sunday. Precipitation will spread into the KBZN terminal vicinity after 08z with occasional MVFR in lower CIGS/-SN late tonight through Sunday morning before conditions improve some Sunday afternoon. Precipitation will be less widespread at lower elevations of Central/N-Central MT and snow levels will be around 4000-5000 ft MSL. W-NW winds aloft increase to around 50kts at ridgetops by Sunday morning with Mtn wave turbulence likely east of the Rockies and gusty surface winds likely at most terminals by Sunday afternoon. Hoenisch && .PREV DISCUSSION...Issued 303 PM MST Sat Dec 20 2014 Tonight through Monday...A plume of moisture is pushing through the Pacific Northwest on a strong westerly jetstream. Ridging further west will turn the upper level flow northwesterly, positioning western and southwest Montana beneath the jet exit region. A shortwave trough will move through this flow from British Columbia to eastern Montana, causing a lee surface trough to develop. The overall result is heavy mountain snow, areas of light rain at low elevations, and strong winds across central Montana. Little, if any precipitation is expected for western portion of the central plains. Areas of light freezing rain are possible tonight generally north and east of the Bears Paw mountains as warmer air spreads over a colder airmass in northeast Montana. Wind gusts will strengthen along the Rocky Mountain Front early Sunday where a high wind warning remains in effect. Strong wind gusts will extend further east onto the adjacent plains, but the high wind watch continues with lowered confidence that winds here will reach warning criteria. Winter weather advisories now cover the Rocky Mountains above 5000 feet and for the Central and Southwest mountains above 5500 feet. Travelers through mountain passes on Sunday should expect snow covered and icy roads. Snow will be later to start in the Little Belt and other central Montana ranges...and will likely continue later into Monday. Nutter Monday night through Saturday...Shortwave ridge develops over the region Monday night into Tuesday afternoon with dry conditions at lower levels but scattered to numerous showers over the mountains. Temperatures are expected to be generally near or above seasonal averages. For Christmas Eve and Christmas Day...a Pacific storm system will affect much of the region. At this time, it appears that anticipated snow amounts west of a line from Cut Bank to Lewistown should see 3 to 5 inches of snow over the plains with 6 to 15 inches in the mountains. For areas east of this line...snow accumulations should range from 1 to 4 inches over the plains with 3 to 8 inches in the mountains. It should be noted that the record snowfall for Great Falls on Christmas day is only 4.4 inches...and we might have a chance at that record should a heavier snowband move through Great Falls. Overall this is not a major storm...but the timing for precipitation during a major holiday period will affect travel. Temperatures will also trend colder from Wednesday through Friday. There is the chance that temperatures on Christmas Day could be a bit colder than currently forecast because of clouds/snowfall. After this storm exits the region late Thursday/early Friday...the weather pattern will become a bit less active. There will be a small chance for a passing snow shower over the weekend and into the New Years week...but no significant snowfall is expected at this time. The main concern tonight is the GFS13/EC are hinting at some very cold air moving into the region by Tue Dec 30th...again this is a ways out...and things can change a bit...but at this time current models are trying to bring down another batch of arctic air before New Years. Brusda/mpj && .PRELIMINARY POINT TEMPS/POPS... GTF 33 49 31 39 / 20 50 30 30 CTB 26 43 28 36 / 20 40 30 20 HLN 30 47 31 38 / 50 80 40 30 BZN 27 45 27 34 / 70 90 50 30 WEY 30 39 21 31 / 100 100 90 50 DLN 34 46 29 35 / 70 90 60 30 HVR 24 44 27 38 / 20 70 20 20 LWT 31 48 30 37 / 30 80 40 30 && .TFX WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES... WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY from 7 PM this evening to 5 AM MST Monday FOR ELEVATIONS ABOVE 5000 FEET FOR Central and Southern Lewis and Clark...Jefferson...Northern Rocky Mountain Front... Southern Rocky Mountain Front. HIGH WIND WATCH from late tonight through Sunday afternoon Eastern Glacier...Eastern Pondera...Eastern Teton...Liberty... Toole. HIGH WIND WARNING until 5 PM MST Sunday Northern Rocky Mountain Front...Southern Rocky Mountain Front. WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY from 7 PM this evening to 5 AM MST Monday FOR ELEVATIONS ABOVE 5500 FEET FOR Beaverhead... Broadwater...Cascade...Gallatin...Judith Basin...Madison... Meagher. && $$ weather.gov/greatfalls www.twitter.com/NWSGreatFalls www.facebook.com/NWSGreatFalls