Thursday Night Update:
My how things can change. The snowfall that we have been expecting all week seems to have ended up in the backyards of our neighbors to the north.
In the last few hours, the state of the winter storm that is in Montana today has changed drastically. That northerly push of rainfall that we saw during the day today continued throughout the evening. The upper level low that was supporting this system moved further northward than expected and dragged the majority of the precipitation with it.
The shift from rain to snow that we expected has come to pass, but again it appears to be falling primarily to the north of Billings.
The system as a whole is still expected to pull southeast over the area in the overnight hours, but the evolution of the system is now such that the strongest areas of precipitation will likely miss Billings.
This in turn leads to a softening of the snowfall forecast for Billings. Earlier in the day we were thinking around the four inch mark with some accumulation starting in the evening and in the overnight period. Now things will likely not get to snowy until later at night and accumulations are likely to be well shy of that initial four inch forecast. My forecast is still for a record breaking amount of snow. However it will be a much closer call than I thought it might be. We can expect one to two inches of snow overnight and into the morning tomorrow.
We will still wake up to a much cooler day tomorrow, as the system has still dragged colder air down into our region, but it will likely be a much less white one than we expected.
It is important to note that the forecasts for South Dakota and the extreme southeast portion of Montana have yet to change and there are still very hazardous conditions expected there. So for anyone traveling in that direction things are still going to be decidedly wintry.
Tomorrow we are headed towards a high temperature in the upper 30s with a good chance of some precipitation lingering throughout the morning hours.