BILLINGS — Welcome back to the first day of work for the brand new year. Isn't it nice how the the sun is dancing off the Sacrifice Cliffs Thursday afternoon in Billings? What also is nice is the temperature Thursday afternoon: we are already up to 44 degrees with winds up to 32 mph.
Around the rest of the state, temperatures are mostly into the 30s out in the west and along the Hi-Line. It isn't until you get to central and eastern Montana that the temps start popping up into the 40s.
And here's the reason why: The current winds show that area highlighted in red is where we have our highest winds. That's where the jet stream is moving in and mixing its way down to the surface.
This is transferring the jet stream energy all the way down to the surface too. This is why it's so windy here Thursday.
And because of that, we have a High Wind Watch for the Beartooth foothills all the way up through Big Timber and Harlowton for winds gusting to 55 to 65 mph tonight through Saturday night.
On the Rocky Mountains front, it's the same deal. Winds are gusting up to 80 mph there, Friday night through Saturday evening.
And there is a High Wind Watch for north-central, south-central and southeastern Montana from Saturday morning to Saturday evening. Here, winds could gust up to 65 mph in all the highlighted areas.
Plus, we have a Backcountry Avalanche Warning in west central Montana. We already have reports of two fatalities in some area avalanches there.
The Doppler radar shows the jet stream continues to move in from the northwest taking some of the snowfall from Missoula and transferring in towards the south-central part of the state. Right now it seems like most of the rain is shooting around the Billings area.
And this is what our high-resolution forecast model was talking about. We will continue to see rain and snow showers off and on throughout most of the state for the next two or three days.
It's not a guarantee that Billings will get some rain or snow, but we will be in the ballpark the next few days.
In fact, our temperatures will be warming up the next two days to 46 degrees on Friday for high and 53 on Saturday. Then it's back down to the 40s as we finish the weekend and going to the middle part of next week.
TONIGHT: Mostly cloudy and windy with a 20% chance for snow showers late in the evening and overnight. West winds 10 to 20 mph gusting up to 40 mph this evening. Low 25 degrees.
FRIDAY: Partly sunny, breezy, with a 20% chance for snow showers early in the morning. West winds 15 to 25 mph. High 46 degrees.
SATURDAY: Mostly sunny, windy and dry. Southwest winds 15 to 25 mph gusting to 55 mph in the afternoon. High 53 degrees.