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Area forecast discussion 
National Weather Service Billings Montana
931 am MST Thursday Feb 11 2016

shortwave moving across eastern Montana is producing an area of snow
showers which is tracking to the southeast and will impact our far
east over the next few hours...including Baker and Ekalaka. Expect
local reductions in visibility but with temperatures in the middle 30s we
should not see much if any snow accumulation with these showers.
Dry downslope winds will prevail otherwise today. High temperatures will
climb to near or a bit above 60f again today across our west and
central parts...with a daily record possible at Sheridan. Canadian
cold front will back more aggressively into the area from the
northeast tonight. Jkl


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 with 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 pressures rises later this morning
will diminish the threat of reaching advisory level wind.

A stronger and more interesting backdoor front will surge in from
the NE tonight into Friday. 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
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 over eastern Montana will produce scattered -shsn
and local MVFR flight conditions mainly east of kmls through 20z.
Elsewhere...some middle and high level clouds will move across the
forecast area with partly sunny skies and VFR conditions
prevailing...along with west-northwest wind gusts of 25-35 kts.

For tonight...a Canadian cold front will back in from the NE
bringing lowering ceilings in our east. Local MVFR is possible at
kmls late tonight. Jkl


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/north 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
0/north 14/west 23/west 33/west 32/west 22/west 11/b
mls 052 026/037 028/051 030/048 030/055 037/055 031/053
1/b 13/west 33/west 22/west 22/west 22/west 11/b
4bq 057 027/040 028/051 030/048 028/055 034/058 029/053
1/north 13/west 33/west 32/west 22/west 22/west 11/b
bhk 041 020/031 020/041 028/044 027/048 034/051 027/048
4/west 11/z 33/west 31/b 22/west 22/west 11/b
shr 060 029/048 029/050 029/045 028/054 033/056 028/053
0/north 13/west 13/west 62/west 22/west 12/west 11/b


Byz watches/warnings/advisories...



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