Thursday Afternoon Update:
We have seen quite a bit of rain throughout the day already today and that is likely to continue into the evening. A viewer reported around three quarters of an inch at his property in Shepherd and the NWS office here says the have measured around half an inch. These totals vary based on whether or not one of the deeper cells passes over a certain area or not.
Now this rainfall should be seen as a positive for those hoping to avoid more wintry conditions. The estimated snowfall totals have been consistently rolling back and this band of rain that we have seen today is a big reason why.
As much of the moisture in the atmosphere falls as rain there is less that will fall as snow. The band of showers that pushed north up from Wyoming over much of the southern half of the state of Montana has helped to keep the colder temperatures at bay. This has let the rain continue to fall in our area, when original projections were for snow to start as early as noon today.
The excess of moisture on the ground will also make it harder for snow to accumulate when it does begin to fall, likely in the evening. This means that accumulation will probably hold off until the later part of the evening and the overnight hours.
We are expecting 3-5 inches of accumulation overnight and winds to shift out of the northeast. This will lead into a colder day on Friday.
The storm will intensify as it tracks southeast into South Dakota tomorrow. There are blizzard warnings up for much of South Dakota tomorrow. There will be extremely poor visibility and high wind and snowfall. Anyone who is traveling in that direction should be aware of the hazardous conditions that will be present. Travel throughout the state today will be hazardous as mountain passes are already snow covered in areas to the west of Billings and snowfall forecasts for areas north of Billings are still quite high.
For us here in Billings things will taper off throughout the day tomorrow and give way to warmer conditions for the weekend. Hopefully this is the last we of the record setting snowfall totals, but with the last frost of the season not coming until mid May there is always the chance of a snowflake or two.