We all got spoiled over the last week with sunshine and spring like conditions in western Montana, but, ‘welcome to the northern Rockies’, said Leann Allegretto, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Missoula.

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Allegretto told KGVO News about a strong winter cold front on its way to the Missoula area.

“It's definitely one of the colder fronts we've seen,” began Allegretto. “It won't start for us here in the Missoula and Bitterroot area until probably the Tuesday morning timeframe, so right around the commute time, unfortunately. We’ve got a front coming down out of Canada. It's bringing all the usual things; cold, north to northeast winds, a burst of snow with the frontal passage and a major drop in temperatures.”

Allegretto spoke of the front ‘draping itself’ over western Montana.

“Some of the forecast models are draping the front installing it right over I-90 about Tuesday morning,” she said. “Should that happen that could be messy, very messy for our area and the greater I-90 corridor, but we're still taking a look at that. There are a lot of elements with this one, but it's going to be cold. It's going to be snowing, and it's going to be windy.”

Allegretto said the amount of snow with this front will depend upon the speed at which it moves through the area.

“It’s like the typical things we see with an arctic front, however, the front has been speeding up in models, which would tend to be lesser snow amounts because it doesn't have time to generate as much,” she said. “So those are the things that are leading us to have less than high confidence about how much snow people could see. It really depends on the timing of the thing, and especially if it does come in faster and then stall. Those are the two big questions with this system.”

Allegretto said forecasters want farmers and ranchers to be especially aware of the incoming front due to its possible effect on livestock.

“It's the newborn livestock we worry about with these cold and wet windy systems,” she said. “The ranchers know, but it's important to reiterate that dramatic shift in cold with this kind of wind doesn't always doesn't only impact kids at the bus stop or people outside or susceptible individuals it impacts the livestock and our animals as well. So, make sure to take care of everyone.”

Click here to see more details of the incoming system.

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