New year starts snowy

Rob Chaney

Holiday travelers should have relatively easy times getting home this weekend before a new bout of snow flurries hit western Montana.

“We’re under a brief high pressure ridge this weekend, so it will be pretty cold on Saturday,” said National Weather Service senior meteorologist Bob Nestor Sr. “It won’t get completely sunny — some clouds — but the temperatures will get up to the 20s on Sunday.”

Snow could hit the mountain passes of Lookout, Rogers and Marias over the weekend, but travel shouldn’t get too difficult until Monday or Tuesday.

After that, western Montana should see an extended series of snowstorms moving through as a steady flow of Pacific moisture moves east. That’s likely to dump considerable amounts of snow on northern California and into the Great Basin, with more manageable loads landing in Montana through Friday.

This comes after a December of meteorological oddities. November ended with a record-high temperature in Missoula of 57, breaking a mark set in 1907. Dec. 1 put up a 67-degree high. But the valley eventually settled into something closer to Christmas-like normal, with a high of 4 degrees on the 27th. Overall though, December has been almost 5 degrees warmer than average according

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