Storms to east and west won't affect dull weather around Missoula

Rob Chaney

Despite atmospheric rivers to the west and Alberta clippers to the east, the Missoula area looks stuck in a funk of foggy drizzle for mid-January.

Likewise, the chance of a January thaw with grass reappearing and flowers threatening to bud in the Missoula Valley appears slim, according to current National Weather Service forecasts.

“There’s a huge range of possibilities,” Missoula NWS meteorologist Jeff Kitsmiller said on Thursday. “We could see a cold air mass bump up against us, but there’s not a lot of confidence in that. And the atmospheric river will go so far north, we may only get little pieces of it. It’s mostly going to hit the British Columbia coast and die off quickly.”

Meanwhile, the fast-moving, low-pressure Alberta Clipper moving southeast out of Canada into the U.S. Midwest has had limited impact along the Rocky Mountain Front this week, where temperatures have been in the low 40s. Alberta Clippers typically bring strong winds but little snow or other precipitation to the plains.

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Between those two, the Missoula and Bitterroot valleys must put up with periods of dense fog and stagnant air

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