Scientific Forecaster Discussion
Area forecast discussion
National Weather Service Billings Montana
335 am MST Thursday Feb 11 2016
Short term...valid for today and Friday...
We have somewhat active weather over portions of our
forecast area through Friday. However...none of it seems
terribly potent or organized at this time.
Weak short wave energy continues to pass over our region in the
northwest flow aloft. This is producing widespread radar echoes to our
east overnight...but we have yet to see any reports of anything
reaching the ground...which makes sense considering the wide
dewpoint depressions at many locations. However...low level
moisture is better over the far eastern zones and this area is in
a somewhat better position relative to jet energy to generate
measurable precipitation. Back door cold air over the Fallon
County vicinity may even result in some brief freezing drizzle
this morning near Baker...although the best chance remains farther
east in the Dakotas. We will continue to cover this via web and
social media outlets. Further west across most of our County Warning Area...dry
downslope winds will prevail with another mild day. As mentioned
by previous shifts...Sheridan could reach near its record high for
today...and Livingston may not be far off either.
As for winds out west...The Gap flow areas have behaved
themselves thus far overnight...probably due to vertical
orientation of isobars. Surface pressure rises later this morning
will diminish the threat of reaching advisory level wind.
A stronger backdoor front will surge in from the NE tonight.
Latest models remain in good agreement showing cooler east winds
pushing west of Billings. This will bring significantly cooler
temperatures for Friday for all but the mountains and foothills with highs
only in the 30s to middle 40s. Another Pacific shortwave rounding the
ridge to the west will interact with this cold air to produce
areas of rain...snow and mixed precipitation Friday. This is
something to watch...but at this time feel that warm ground and
weak dynamics support snow accums of around or less than an inch.
Surface trough should push east and off the foothills Friday night as
precipitation tapers off.
Only other potential issue is fog and light freezing drizzle for
our east late tonight into Friday as we tap into the low level
colder air and moisture behind backdooring front. We could see
enough saturation with temperatures warmer than -10c to support some
very light freezing drizzle. Bt
Long term...valid for Sat...sun...Mon...Tue...Wed...
Models remain in similar agreement through the extended period.
In general...above normal temperatures with windy periods can be
expected. The high pressure ridge that will be in place through
the end of the week will break down Saturday as a potent vorticity maximum
moves southeast out of Canada Saturday and Sunday. Both the GFS
and European model (ecmwf) bring some decent amounts of quantitative precipitation forecast across the area...as
well as steep lapse rates on the order of 6-8c/km. Temperatures
will be cooler than previous days but still relatively mild. As a
result...precipitation could be more in the form of heavier rain and snow
showers. High pressure ridging begins to build across the northern
rockies once again next Monday into Tuesday. However...the ridge
axis looks to be just west of Montana allowing for a northwest
flow aloft and the possibility of a couple disturbances within the
flow to move across the area. These disturbances do not look too
strong but it is a bit too far out to pinpoint a lot of detail.
A weak disturbance will move across the far eastern portions of
Montana today. This will bring a chance for rain and snow showers
along with MVFR to IFR conditions at times. Elsewhere...some middle
and high level clouds will move across the forecast area with
partly sunny skies and VFR conditions prevailing. Hooley
Preliminary point temp/pops...
Today Friday Sat sun Monday Tuesday Wednesday
bil 064 035/043 035/053 034/050 034/057 039/059 034/056
0/b 24/west 13/west 22/west 22/west 22/west 11/b
lvm 058 038/055 039/046 033/047 037/054 040/053 035/051
0/north 44/west 13/west 44/west 32/west 22/west 12/west
hdn 065 030/046 029/055 030/051 030/059 034/060 029/057
1/b 14/west 23/west 33/west 32/west 22/west 11/b
mls 054 026/037 028/051 030/048 030/055 037/055 031/053
1/b 13/west 33/west 22/west 22/west 22/west 11/b
4bq 058 027/040 028/051 030/048 028/055 034/058 029/053
1/b 13/west 33/west 32/west 22/west 22/west 11/b
bhk 044 020/031 020/041 028/044 027/048 034/051 027/048
3/west 11/east 33/west 31/b 22/west 22/west 11/b
shr 060 029/048 029/050 029/045 028/054 033/056 028/053
1/b 13/west 13/west 62/west 22/west 12/west 11/b