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Aurora views in western Montana possible before cold snap hits
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Aurora views in western Montana possible before cold snap hits

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Glacier National Park aurora borealis

A person watches the aurora borealis above Glacier National Park from a dock recently.

Dawn patrollers caught a Northern Lights show in Missoula early Tuesday, and might score a repeat performance Wednesday morning.

The Aurora Borealis appeared as a green band in the skies across much of northwestern Montana on the clear, cold Tuesday morning. It’s predicted to shine again Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, and the National Weather Service forecast calls for clear skies until Wednesday morning.

“The photos up by Kalispell, Whitefish were pretty spectacular,” Missoula NWS meteorologist Joe Messina said on Tuesday afternoon. “We should be good tonight, with a pretty clear sky until about 6 a.m. It could be not-bad viewing.”

It will be cold viewing, however. Those clear skies should push the temperature down to 22 in the Missoula Valley, followed by light snow coming from the following cold front. That could drop an inch or two of snow on the mountain passes, including Lookout, Lolo and Marias passes. Valley bottoms may get up to half an inch of snow and roads could be icy Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.

On a positive note, steady west-to-east winds following Wednesday’s cold snap should restore clear skies and warmer temperatures heading into the weekend. Nights won’t get above freezing, but daytime highs are forecast to reach 62 in Missoula by Saturday.

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