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No day for bike riding

A bicycle on Mercury Street seems out of place Monday when snow immediately turned a nice fall into winter. Frigid temperatures are expected Tuesday in Southwest Montana.

Anyone planning to celebrate the new year with a weekend excursion better prepare for the first snowstorm of 2015.

Meteorologists at Missoula’s National Weather Service office issued an alert for lots of snow and cold hitting the area Friday through Monday.

Snow showers should start leaving accumulations on the mountain passes across western Montana and central Idaho starting late Friday. The snow should be light and dry – great for skiing, but bad for visibility if there’s any breeze moving it around.

That flurry should fizzle out by midday Saturday, but another, heavier snow band will move into the area on Sunday. Moderate to heavy accumulations are predicted for Sunday afternoon through Monday.

There’s also a possibility of another spill of arctic air blowing in from the Continental Divide on Monday that should keep temperatures low and winds high. There’s a possibility of freezing rain on Monday morning, although forecast models are conflicting about where and when that might happen.

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Natural Resources & Environment Reporter

Natural Resources Reporter for The Missoulian.