Welcome to winter!

The extended autumn with its blazing colors is gone, and in its place will be snow and increasingly colder temperatures.

Meteorologist Travis Booth with the National Weather Service office in Missoula said Tuesday morning’s taste of snow is just the beginning of the winter season.

“We’re expecting the shower activity to continue with a mix of rain and snow for Tuesday,” said Booth. “It looks like we’ll have another round of snow showers early Wednesday morning which could bring another inch or two of snow to the grassy surfaces around the valley.”

Booth said the Missoula and Bitterroot areas will see more snow showers through Wednesday, but that will clear off later in the week.

“It will stay chilly,” he said. “We’re looking for highs in the mid to upper 30’s to end the week, so the snow on the ground will probably melt here in the valley.”

Booth said the snow is welcome news for frustrated hunters as the general rifle season continues.

“For the back country, as we look all the way into Wednesday evening, we’re expecting another four to eight inches of snow for those locations above 6,000 feet,” he said. “There will be off and on wintry travel conditions, probably not as bad during the daytime hours, but during the nighttime hours, the roads should remain snow packed.”

Overall  the National Weather Service is predicting a weak El Nino weather pattern over western Montana, primarily meaning less snow and warmer then normal winter temperatures,