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Skiff hits north-central Montana, much more expected

A skiff of snow Tuesday morning seemed to surprise many Havreites, although it ended up not amounting to much, but forecasters say more white stuff — and bitterly cold temperatures — are likely on the way.

The fairly unexpected storm that lasted, off and on, for several hours is reported to have left just a trace of snow, with only 0.01 inches of precipitation recorded at the National Weather Service Reporting station at the Havre City-County Airport west of town.

Temperatures have stayed balmy for January in north-central Montana, with a high of 36 reported in Havre Tuesday Weather Service predicting a high of 48 today.

That is expected to change shortly.

Weather Service, and the Weather Channel, all predict colder temperatures and precipitation.

Weather Service released an update at 5:20 this morning, with an upgraded prediction for snow.

"Some forecast models are now showing a worst case scenario of near-record daily January snowfall at lower elevations of 10 to 15 inches and up to 30 inches in the mountains, " the update said.

Snow accumulations along the Hi-Line are expected to be 3 to 6 inches Thursday through Friday afternoon, the update said.

Weather Service also warned that wet pavement expected Thursday morning hit by rapid temperature drops before snowfall later in the day could cause a flash freeze with slick roadways across much of the area

The forecast for central and southwest Montana is a bit more severe, with up to 10 inches at lower elevations and up to 20 inches in the mountains through that period.

Lows tonight are predicted to be between 18 and 24 degrees, and Weather Service predicts a chance of rain and snow tonight with a 90 percent chance of snow Thursday and Thursday night and a 70 percent chance Friday.

AccuWeather and Weather Channel predict the moisture to start falling Thursday.

All three services expect the temperatures to drop dramatically, with highs Thursday predicted to range from 19 to 24 degrees — about the same as tonight's low — and the low Friday night expected to be between minus 5 degrees and minus 14.

Up to 3 inches of snow is expected to fall in the region by Friday morning, with more snow possible through the weekend.

AccuWeather is predicting the highs will jump back into the 30s and 40s by the middle to end of next week, although the Weather Channel's forecast is more conservative, with highs at that time expected to be in the 20s.


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