It’s gusty season in western Montana

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As National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Zumpf said, early Wednesday morning is the season for strong and gusty winds, coming from a cold front moving through the region.

“This is the season for the strong jet streams across the Pacific Ocean, and we’ll see that all over western Montana today,” Zumpf said. “Already before dawn we already have gusts of up to 20 miles per hour in southwestern Montana. Eben, here in Missoula, we are starting to have gusts that will probably increase to almost 40 miles per hour in the afternoon, and could even reach 50 miles per hour by the time we get to the end of afternoon.

Zumpf said the winds would mainly affect the area southwest of Missoula.

“In southwest Montana, mainly Butte and along the Continental Divide, this is where we’ll see a lot of gusts of over 50 miles per hour,” he said. . “We’re concerned about travelers who might find themselves on certain freeways like Interstate 90 where crosswinds could knock them down on the highway, so be on the lookout for that today.”

Zumpf said the wind mainly brought rain in the lower elevations and snow in the mountains.

“The cold front has moved and we have rain showers in the valleys and snow at high altitudes,” he said. “There will likely be some snow in the passes once the sun rises on Thursday, like on the Lolo and Lost Trail passes, and maybe even a sprinkling on Georgetown Lake.”

Missoula Parks and Recreation has developed an emergency plan to deal with felled trees that will prioritize high-risk tree failures and emergency removals. Non-urgent referrals will be dealt with if time permits. Branches and branches of trees planted on private property are the responsibility of the owner.

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