If there was an official time to start "mud season" on Montana's ski resorts, this weekend would be the perfect opportunity.

Not only is snow play going to be a soggy affair, but rain, along with warmer-than-we-'ve-seen temperatures promises to make "slush" the word for the weekend at the higher elevations.

And forecasters with the National Weather Service forecast office in Missoula are saying even the valleys will be damp as temperatures climb and rain falls at the start of this coming week.

Unsettled weather for the past week has brought spells of new snow, especially above 5,000 feet. But that will start to change will a system pushing into the Northern Rockies on Friday. Initially, that will mean rain showers. But forecasters say by Sunday, temperatures will begin warming significantly, staying above 40 degrees even in the higher elevations, with valley locations topping 60 degrees.

That will combine with up to an inch of rain that's possibly about 5500 feet, with snow levels climbing all the way to 6000 to 7000 feet in Western Montana. Valley locations could receive up to half an inch of rain through Monday. NWS says that could lead to a rise in mountain streams, and may kick lose of some rockfall along area roads.

But the warm-up won't be as significant as it was looking a few days ago. Forecasters say temperatures should return to seasonal norms by Tuesday.

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