The National Weather Service is not kidding around - we're getting some snow this weekend. A strong Arctic front is going to blast down across Montana and the Bitterroot Valley is in the target area. The danger is greatest for travelers this weekend and for those who are going out for general hunting season.

Meteorologist Brian Conlin at the National Weather Service Office in Missoula says the main storm will reach the valley Friday evening, October 23. “Starting Friday we're going to start to see light snow developing across our area,” he said in an interview Wednesday. “Basically what's happening is we're going to have this cold air in place...and then some warm moist air is going to overrun it and that's a perfect situation for Western Montana to get some snow. So during the day, the snow will continue, and the best time for the snow for most of our area is going to be after 6pm (Friday) until six in the morning on Saturday.”

Conlin predicts the snow will be widespread. “Another shot of arctic air is going to come down. This is going to be significantly colder...but the snow will pretty much continue during the day Saturday from the I-90 corridor south and east, as we start to get some wraparound snow as the low pushes off to the east. Then once the snow finishes, I think everyone will get a wide range of 2 to 5 inches from most locations, even down into the valleys.”

Then along comes the cold - really, really cold for this time of the year. Conlin continues: "By Monday morning, we’ll see low single digits for most valleys and then up along the Continental Divide we're looking at single digit negatives up to negative 15 in southwest Montana. Specifically for Missoula, we're looking at one degree above zero on Monday morning and then south of here for those that are in the northern Bitterroot, it could be in the negative 2 to 3 or 4 degrees.”

And then, we are expecting some wind to blow the snow around and add to travel problems due to reduced visibility. The skies will clear on Monday, perhaps shining on a totally different (white) landscape than we have this week. Be prepared.