Valley rain, mountain snow return


An AIR QUALITY ALERT remains in place across the state.

An autumn like storm system will move into the region from Canada. As it does, much cooler air will invade the state. Snow levels will drop with widespread valley rain and mountain snow Thursday through Friday. WINTER STORM WATCH and a WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY are posted Thursday night and Friday for the mountains of west central Montana and southwest Montana, including the Bitterroot mountains east to the Bridger Range near Bozeman. Snowfall of one to four inches above 6000 feet and four to eight inches above 7000 feet. The Butte area will receive snow by Friday morning.

The best chance of widespread, beneficial rain will be from the Missoula area south and east to Butte, Helena and Bozeman. Three quarters of an inch to two inches of rain will be possible in these areas. Rainfall will be much less across northwest Montana around Kalispell. A tenth of an inch to a quarter of inch will be possible there.

Highs temperatures will be in the 50s to lower 60s on Thursday. By Friday, daytime highs will only reach the 40s and low 50s. Low temperatures Saturday and Sunday morning will be below freezing for higher valley locations.

Milder and drier this weekend with highs warming to the upper 50s to upper 60s by Sunday.