According to the National Weather Service office in Missoula, Old Man Winter is perfectly punctual, with the first snowfall of the season arriving right on time.

Meteorologist Brian Conlin has details.

“It's right on time especially for Missoula,” said Conlin. “Our first measurable snowfall is usually about on October 31st, and the first average inch of snow is on the 15th of November so this is right on time for Western Montana.”

Conlin described how current conditions might change.

“We've had a couple periods of trace snow earlier, but this is our first measurable snowfall especially across the entire Northern Rockies,” he said. “We have a little bit of moisture that's been coming in off the Pacific. It's going to actually be a multi day event, but there'll be breaks in between. If you're a winter lover, unfortunately, this is a very warm system. We'll probably see just through natural heating this afternoon where temperatures will go above freezing through most of Western Montana. So you see whatever is there is simply going to melt off.”

Conlin said conditions could get slick this evening and for the Friday morning commute.

“Our concern is for this evening where we expect that there'll be the normal cooling that happens on any given day,” he said. “We're just not so sure how much cooling will happen in the Missoula area itself, but certainly in northwest Montana, we expect temperatures to drop below freezing again, and then the second surge of moisture will happen this evening. So we're expecting a period of wintry weather again overnight tonight and quite possibly through the morning commute.”

Conlin said conditions east of Missoula could get difficult.

“The best thing to say is if you live near I-90 and north including the Georgetown Lake, Anaconda and Phillipsburg, you can expect slippery conditions after the sunset tonight through at least noon tomorrow in those areas.”

The Montana Highway Patrol urges drivers to slow down and keep extra space between you and the vehicles in front of you as winter descends on Missoula.


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