As National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Zumpf said early Wednesday morning, ‘tis the season for strong, gusty winds, coming from a cold front moving across the area.

“Tis the season for strong jet streams across the Pacific Ocean, and we’ll see that all over western Montana today,” said Zumpf. “Already, as early as pre-dawn we’re already gusting up to 20 miles per hour range across southwest Montana. Eben here in Missoula we’re starting to get some gusts which will probably increase to somewhere near 40 miles per hour in the afternoon, and may even reach 50 miles per hour once we get to late afternoon.”

Zumpf said the winds will primarily affect the area southwest of Missoula.

“In southwest Montana, primarily Butte and along the Continental Divide, that’s where we’ll see plenty of gusts over 50 miles per hour,” he said. “We’re worried about travelers who might be on some highways like Interstate 90 where crosswinds could knock them around the road, so be on the lookout for that today.”

Zumpf said the wind has brought with it primarily rain in the lower elevations and some snow in the mountains.

“The cold front moved through and we’ve got rain showers in the valleys and high elevation snow,” he said. “There will probably be some snow in the passes once the sun comes up on Thursday, such as on Lolo and Lost Trail passes, and maybe even a dusting over Georgetown Lake”

Missoula Parks and Recreation has developed an emergency plan to deal with downed trees that will prioritize high-risk tree failures and emergency removals. Non-emergency removals will be addressed as time allows. Branches and limbs from trees planted on private property are the responsibility of the property owner.

 

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