Batten down the hatches, says the National Weather Service office in Missoula due to a strong storm system coming to western Montana, accompanied by very strong winds.

Meteorologist Leeann Allegretto provided details to KGVO News on Monday morning.

“We are abnormally warm for this time of year, said Allegretto. It’s very above normal and we may break another record today just like we broke yesterday's record high,  but all of this will come to an end when the winds arrive and those are expected to begin later this evening and really increase overnight tonight into tomorrow, Tuesday.”

Allegretto said the winds will strengthen overnight into Tuesday’s commute.

“Definitely you'll feel it through the morning commute and then it will start to taper down,” said Allegretto. “It's going to remain breezy. We'll see gusts in the 30 miles per hour range probably for several hours after the morning is over, but the strongest should probably start to decrease by 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., so it's close.”

Allegretto said the winds will strengthen as the system moves through.

“What we're looking at is southwest winds basically 30 to 40 miles per hour sustained,” she said. “But what's really incredible are the gust potentials which were expecting up to 60 miles per hour especially along the west side of highway 93. Basically, it will be from Lolo to Darby, so any of those east to west aligned drainages coming out of the Bitterroots. That's where the winds will really pick up and be the strongest. And again, that's happening tonight (Monday night) into tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.”

Allegretto added details about possible rain and snow from the system.

“It will be rain to start, if any of it reaches the ground early on in this event, but whenever we see this kind of change from warm to cold, and there's plenty of moisture with it like we're seeing, we're expecting snow bands to start. So there’s a lot of snow squall potential tomorrow and basically all snow squalls are localized area very moderate to heavy snowfall bursts and visibility can drop very quickly. So if you're underneath it, it's a mess. If you're out of it, you're like, oh, I don't see any snow. There's no snow, so it's very hit or miss depending on where they show up, but the potential is there through the day tomorrow.”

Allegretto and the NWS encourage all who live along the line of the storm system to prepare for strong winds and possible snow bands through Tuesday.

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