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    Western US weather expert

    First Major Winter Storm Montana to Utah

    11/07/2012, 11:48:23 PM

    The storm that is bringing big changes along the West Coast the next few days will actually have the greatest weather impact farther east.

    Snow will develop Thursday afternoon in western Montana and eastern Idaho and will grow in coverage and intensity Thursday night and Friday. By late Thursday night and Friday, a full-fledged blizzard will be occurring across parts of north-central and western Montana with heavy snow and strong winds causing blowing snow and reduced visibility. Snow is likely to continue Friday night into Saturday even as the heaviest snow shifts more toward eastern Montana and parts of North Dakota. Snowfall in many of the low elevations of Montana will be 7 to 15 inches with local amounts of 1 to 2 feet in the mountains

    Farther south, the Wasatch and western Uinta Mountains will get hit hard too, just a little later. Snow will develop Friday and continue into Saturday with 1 to 2 feet at ski resorts and local amounts higher. Rain will change to snow and accumulate in the Salt Lake Basin as temperatures plummet during the day Friday. Early indications are for 2 to 4 inches with 6 to 8 inches possible on the Benches. Snow will also fall farther south down the Wasatch and into the Cedar City area. Accumulating snow also is likely in parts of southern Idaho and into Wyoming and Colorado with the heaviest snow in eastern Idaho and western Wyoming.

    If you are planning on travel into these areas, plan ahead for winter driving conditions and carry chains and plenty of cold weather gear.

    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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    Western US weather expert