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Snowstorm could dump 8-12 inches on Flathead

March 8, 2017 GMT

Another round of heavy snow is expected to impact Northwest Montana on Thursday and Friday, dumping an additional 8 to 12 inches on the Flathead Valley and more than 2 feet in the mountains.

A steady stream of warm, Pacific air will collide with arctic air, possibly resulting in some “very impressive snowfall totals” by Friday afternoon, the National Weather Service in Missoula reported Wednesday afternoon.

Expected snow totals range from up to a foot in Kalispell, Bigfork and Whitefish, with 12-18 inches possible in the Olney snowbelt and at West Glacier.

“Run a line from Libby to Seeley lake, locations north and east should receive 6 to 12 inches of new snow, while areas around Glacier Park might get up to 18 inches,” the Weather Service notes.

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Travel across much of Northwest Montana, especially along U.S. 93 north of Kalispell, could be challenging due to snow and blowing snow, the Weather Service warns.

Marias Pass on U.S. 2 will feel the brunt of the storm with 18-24 inches predicted.

Skiers and snowboarders can anticipate another great weekend on the slopes with Big Mountain expected to pick up 3-5 inches Thursday, 9-13 inches Thursday night and another 11-14 inches on Friday.

Thursday temperatures will be in the mid to high 20s, but will fall into the low teens and single digits by Thursday night, National Weather Service meteorologist Trent Smith said.

Friday temperatures should warm back up in the mid-30s. Saturday will see a break in th action until Saturday night and Sunday, when the valley will see a wintry mix, Smith noted.

The wet and cold weather is expected to run right into next week.

Year-to-date at Glacier Park International Airport, there has been 78.9 inches of snow, which is double what the valley receives in a normal year. Locations in the north Flathead Valley around Whitefish have a settled snowpack of more than 20 inches covering the ground.

The Flathead River snowpack is currently 109 percent of average and total precipitation is 126 percent of average.