GHENT, WV (WVNS) — With West Virginia and Virginia enjoying sunshine and temperatures in the 70s this week, it may surprise you to learn your StormTracker 59 team is watching a snow storm develop across sections of the Northwestern U.S.

The storm is expected to bring several inches, if not a foot or more, of snow for portions of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming from Tuesday through Thursday. The first widespread snow storm of the 2023/24 winter season.

Winter storm warnings have been issued by local National Weather Service offices throughout the northwest in preparation of the storm. Aside from the snow, arctic air is expected to plunge southward dropping temperatures into the single digits for places like Helena, MT.

It is this arctic air that has the StormTracker 59 team watching closely on how it will affect the warm air “bubble” we’re currently enjoying closing out October. Our jet stream is one of the aspects that is allowing us to remain warm when average daytime highs this time of year should only be in the low 60s.

Over the next several days, the jet stream is expected to stay well towards our north, through Michigan and into Canada. That surge of warmer air from Mexico will work northward as a result keeping us in the 70 degree range. However, the colder and more dense arctic air will start to win the battle of the warmer and lighter air mass we now enjoy. As it does, a cold front will develop across the Central Plain States by Friday.

Behind this cold front, a surge of cold air follows as the front marches across the county. Plunging the central U.S., that have seen highs in the 70s and 80s, into the 30s and 40s. Our region would be next on the list if it wasn’t for the blocking high pressure system currently in play.

A week of sunshine, temperatures in the 70s, and no rain risk is all thanks to the high pressure bubble keeping us protected from a string of rain this week. It is this blockade that will keep the colder air at bay a little while longer. As the cold air crashes against this pocket of sinking air, it has little choice but to push northward into the Great Lakes this weekend. We’ll of course see some impacts with increased cloud cover, but temperatures remain mild through Sunday.

By Sunday night, clouds will start to push in from the northwest. From there we cross over into the cold air mass as our blocking high loses its influence and is pushed out to sea. Monday, showers and even a few wet snow flakes for the mountains will mark the end of the beautiful weather we had the previous week.

Then, of course, the cold air finally rushes in dropping temperatures into the 40s and 50s for daytime highs. Just as we welcome Halloween to the region on Tuesday. At least the forecast isn’t too scary with just rain showers dotting our HD Dual Live Doppler Radar. Halloween night, however, a few snow flakes dot the higher terrain in West Virginia one again.

Then we just get cold with overnight lows expected to plummet into the 20s by Wednesday. Bringing an end to the 2023 growing season as freezing temperatures cover the entire region. For Pocahontas, Nicholas, Fayette, and Raleigh county, the growing season has already ended due to freezing temperatures on Monday, October 23rd.

The anticipated blast of cold air of next week starts as a winter storm for Montana this week and the reason our StormTracker 59 team is watching closely. At least they’re not forecasting accumulating snows for our region…yet.

It won’t be long, however, before our region starts to deal with snows of our own with average first snowfall dates fast approaching. While flakes are normal in fall, most in our region don’t typically see snow accumulations until the end of November.

Until then, however, your StormTracker 59 team is staying vigilant to the changes of the season all across the country to keep us ahead of the storms. Be sure to stay up to date with them and their daily forecast discussions with the StormTracker 59 app, signing up for email alerts through our website, or visiting the weather tab here.