The beginning of the Labor Day weekend will be idyllic in western Montana, with blue sky and warm sunshine, but from Sunday night into Monday, the National Weather Service is warning of a drastic and possibly dangerous change in the weather.

Meteorologist Corby Nickerson describes the front expected to move into the area from Canada.

I'll tell you what, it flips on a dime come Sunday night into Monday,” said Nickerson. “We've got a big significant Canadian cold front, you could probably call it an arctic front to be honest, and it's coming down with a lot of cold air.

“I'll tell you what, it flips on a dime come Sunday night into Monday,” said Nickerson. “We've got a big significant Canadian cold front, you could probably call it an arctic front to be honest, and it's coming down with a lot of cold air, and the transfer of that cold air into this already warm environment is going to result in several different things. We're looking at a big potential for a wind event on Monday, especially across northwest Montana, the Flathead Valley and all the way down into the Missoula Valley.”

Nickerson focuses on the winds accompanying this front.

“Expected winds will be picking up out of the East like you normally would see in the wintertime and getting really gusty near the canyons,” he said. “Flathead Lake could be particularly dangerous with high waves and could be some potential for boat damage and dock damage. It's just got that much potential, with gusts pushing into the 50 mile per hour range by Monday afternoon.”

Nickerson said the start of the week will be drastically different weather-wise.

“It's going to be about 30 to 35 degrees colder on Monday for high temperatures, when compared to this weekend's temperatures are looking at temperatures, like in Missoula in the mid 90s on Saturday, and we might not get out of the 50s on Monday,” he said. “So it's going to be really dramatic, this change that's coming in and it's across all of western Montana, temperatures that are just going to be dramatically colder than what we've seen and what we're going to see this weekend. But then the other story of this is because all the cold air coming in above 6000 feet, that's going to result in accumulating snow. So if you've got plans to go to Glacier Park this weekend, and you're going to stay through Monday, you really want to pack that jacket and plan on there being snow up there and the higher terrain, especially up at Logan Pass, and those who might be going out, you know, enjoying the opening weekend of archery season. The snow level is going to be down to 5000 feet with calculations that we're expecting above 6000 feet.”

Nickerson also has advice for those with summer gardens.

“For those of us who are amateur gardeners and those of us who have semi professional gardens, if you've got things that you want to live past Tuesday morning, it's going to behoove you to start making plans to cover them now, with low temperatures and even some wind by Tuesday morning, we'll be approaching a widespread plant damaging levels,” he said. “We'll see temperatures in some places where the wind comes down getting into the 20s, and a lot of places like Missoula, we're pretty confident we're going to get down to around 30, 31 or 32 degrees.”

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