Winter storm

A dusting of snow caps the Beartooth Mountains last month.

Winter weather is expected to return to Montana for a second time this fall.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning that’s in effect from Tuesday morning through midnight Wednesday. Gallatin and Madison counties are predicted to see 3 to 9 inches of snow at lower elevations and 8 to 16 inches in the mountains, and possible wind gusts of up to 35 mph.

The weather service warns travel could become difficult to impossible.

HRDC will open its warming centers in Bozeman and Livingston to provide shelter from the cold. The Warming Center doesn’t usually open until Nov. 1, but will open temporarily in response to the predicted cold weather. The two locations will be open Wednesday and Thursday from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., in Bozeman at 2104 Industrial Drive, and in Livingston at 119 S. Second St.

A Canadian cold front is moving south, carrying the storm that’s likely to bring below-freezing temperatures and icy roads from Cut Bank to West Yellowstone. Southwest, central, north central and northwest Montana are on track to experience the heaviest snowfall.

Strong winds are possible on the Rocky Mountain Front and in the north central part of the state. The weather service is warning of blowing snow on roadways.

The snowfall should end by Wednesday night, but cold temperatures are expected to linger through the end of the week. The weather service reports that a mid-October winter storm is not unprecedented.

The winter weather is arriving on the heels of a record-breaking snow storm that hit Montana in September. Gov. Steve Bullock declared a winter storm emergency, and several locations saw more than a foot of snow.

The October weather warning is accompanied by a cold advisory for newborn livestock. Temperatures in Gallatin County are expected to pose extreme risks for newborn livestock from midnight to 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Northwestern Energy is asking that people report power outages or downed power lines during the storm by calling 888-467-2669. The utility reminds people to clear snow and ice off of natural gas meters and furnace vents to avoid loss of heat or build up of carbon monoxide.

Up to date weather information can be found at weather.gov. Drivers can call 511 to get road condition reports.

Shaylee Ragar can be reached at sragar@dailychronicle.com or at 406-582-2607. Follow her on Twitter @shay_ragar.

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