DISCUSSION: As the next winter storm continues to move closer to the north-central United States, there will be an increasing threat for many people across the states of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and more. The primary catalyst of the locally heavier snowfall totals discussing in the video briefing above as well as in the graphic above (courtesy of forecasters at the National Weather Service office located in Missoula, Montana) will be due to orographic (or elevated terrain-based) enhancement of wintry precipitation. Orographic lifting (or precipitation intensity enhancement) occurs as a result of air parcels within precipitation-producing clouds being forced to rise over some given elevated surface (e.g., a hill, plateau, or mountain). As these air parcels rise up and over these elevated surfaces, there often is significant air parcel expansion which occurs and consequently increased amounts of moisture are extracted which fosters locally heavier precipitation.
Therefore, if you know people who currently are situated or will be travelling through the aforementioned states over the next 24 to 48 hours, it would be advantageous to make them aware of the impending winter weather threat. Moreover, if you need to travel through these areas, be sure to dress in layers since it be very cold throughout the during of this winter storm which will make frostbite a real threat for those who are not probably covered up. As with any winter storm, if you must travel through these areas (especially by car), be sure to have a winter weather emergency kit on-hand at all times. This kit should include any medications one takes, plenty of water, energy bars, flashlights and plenty of fresh batteries, kitty litter or sand for situational traction, several warm blankets, a complete first aid kit, etc. If you do not absolutely need to be out and about across these areas, it would be in anyone's best interest to avoid doing so to avoid putting yourself in harm's way.
To learn more about other high-impact weather events occurring across North America, be sure to click here!
©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz