Montana will climb back to the "right" side of the thermometer this week, as record-breaking recordings finally climb above zero and closer to what a normal January day would be.

However, while the resort to "warmer weather" means you can drop a few layers of clothing, you'll still have to hang on to the shovels, with more snow in the forecast this week.

And driving over the passes will be challenging again, with more than a foot of snow expected at the higher elevations.

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Monday, everyone was still talking about the cold

The National Weather Service says long-standing cold records fell across the state Saturday and Sunday morning, with dozens of locations colder than -30 or 40 below. Chester, Montana took the cold crown when it hit -54 below.

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Temperatures were beginning a very gradual warmup Monday morning, though most locations in Western Montana were still colder than -20. Going into Tuesday, morning readings will likely be single digits below zero, or slightly colder. But by the afternoon, many locations, including Missoula and the Bitterroot valleys, should return to the upper teens.

Readings east of the Divide will continue subzero heading into mid-week.

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A perfect combination for snow

Valley inversions will also bring a return to fog and low clouds. However, the clouds rolling in Tuesday evening single the arrival of the next Pacific storm system. That's expected to bring a foot or more of snow to the mountain passes. Northwest Montana valleys could see 4 to 6 inches of snow through Wednesday.

Snow totals in the Missoula and Bitterroot valleys are forecast to bring an additional 1 to 3 inches of new snow.

Beyond that, forecast models suggest we won't be going back to sub-zero weather. But it looks like more snow, or perhaps freezing rain could arrive over the weekend and at times next week.

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