North-central Montana could be seeing some more wintry weather — and high winds — before Halloween, some weather forecasters are saying.
The National Weather Service forecast predicts temperatures will drop over the weekend, with highs next week in the 40s and lows in the 20s, and a chance of showers and snow showers Monday through Thursday, with an increasing chance of light accumulating snow through that period.
Winds are expected to return today, with windspeeds increasing to as high as 31 mph this afternoon and gusts as high as 44 mph expected today and Saturday.
That prediction pales in comparison to the past two days, with gusts of 62 mph recorded at the Weather Service recording station west of Havre Tuesday and 48 mph Wednesday.
Other forecasters have conflicting predictions for next week — AccuWeather.com calls for even lower high temperatures, with highs dropping into the 30s by midweek and lows in the teens before the weather starts to moderate a week from Saturday, and also predicts a chance of sleet and snow early to midweek.
The Weather Channel, however, predicts highs in the 40s with a chance of rain, but leaves out the prediction of snow.
Farther out, predictions are hazy. National Weather Service reports that an expected El Niño, where the temperature of the water in the Pacific Ocean along the equator is warmer than normal, is not certain to develop, making predictions more uncertain. The El Niño conditions still could develop, the service adds.
In an El Niño, the weather patterns typically bring a warmer and drier-than-normal weather pattern to the western part of the United States, including Montana, and often cooler- and wetter-than-normal patterns for the southeast and east.
At this point, the Weather Service is predicting a chance of drier-than-normal conditions in Montana for this winter, with no prediction on whether the temperatures will be below-normal, normal or above-normal.