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Winter is coming: Significantly cooler temps are in the forecast for Montana

Weather forecast calling for drastically colder temperatures in Montana starting October 10, 2021.
National Weather Service Missoula

A drastic change in Montana’s weather is just a few days away. How drastic? Now's the time to think about harvesting those late-season garden holdouts before it’s too late.

The warm, dry southwestern air that’s recently kept our temperatures well above average will soon be displaced by much different conditions.

Montana’s about to get hit with a one-two punch of much cooler weather. National Weather Service-Missoula Meteorologist Alex Lukinbeal says the first left-hand jab lands sometime Wednesday heading into Thursday.

“Big changes on the way. We’ll see high temperatures drop 20 degrees for some locations.”

That’s followed by a right-cross expected to hit Montana late Sunday into early next week.

“Basically we have a very strong area of low pressure that’s going to move across the Gulf of Alaska, down through British Columbia and then eventually into Montana. And as that system moves through, we’ll see snow levels dropping potentially all the way down the valley floors,” Lukinbeal says.

Models aren’t yet clear on exactly how much snow the valleys and mountains may receive, but measurable accumulations are virtually locked in, especially for southwest Montana, where according to Lukinbeal:

“This event definitely will postpone the ongoing fire season, if not end it, just given the multiple rounds of wetting rains and potential for accumulating snowfall.”

Daytime highs across Montana next week will likely top out in the upper 40s with overnight lows possibly dipping into the lower 20s.

Forecasters advise gardeners to make their final harvest before the season’s first hard freeze next week. Booking those irrigation system blowouts would also be a good precautionary measure.

Edward O'Brien is Montana Public Radio's Associate News Director.