Cool, gloomy weather including skiffs of snow this morning are just a foretaste of what is predicted in the next 48 hours.
The National Weather Service this morning issued a blizzard watch for Blaine, Chouteau and Hill counties from Friday morning through late Friday night, just two weeks after a major storm shut down much of north-central and central Montana, piling snow across the region and causing major power outages.
The blizzard watch does not predict as severe a storm as hit the area March 19 but is warning that snow with high winds could create widespread whiteout conditions and make travel very dangerous.
A blizzard watch also is in effect farther east, in Phillips and Valley counties, and winter storm warnings are in place to the south and winter weather advisories are in effect along the Rocky Mountain Front.
The watch in the Havre area says that light snow will develop late tonight, and become heavy at times with strong northerly winds developing.
The snow and winds blowing from 25 mph to 35 mph and gusts up to 50 mph could create whiteout conditions from Friday morning through the evening, with visibility reduced to near zero feet at times.
Possible snow accumulations of 6 to 10 inches in the plains and 10 to 20 inches in the mountains are predicted for the region.
The storm in Blaine, Chouteau and Hill counties is expected to taper off Saturday, with a chance of snow showers in the morning and rain and snow showers in the afternoon.
The prediction for the amount of snow in the forecast varies. For Havre, Weather Service is forecasting less than half an inch tonight, with 3 to 7 inches Friday and less than an inch being added Friday night.
The Weather Channel, by contrast predicts about an inch of slushy snow accumulating Friday with no additional precipitation in its forecast for Saturday.
AccuWeather.com predicts 3 to 6 inches of snow for Havre by Friday night.