Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) While the watches and warnings have lifted, winter maintained its icy grip on western Montana on Monday morning, with temperatures at dawn hovering at -17 degrees.

Another round of snow is expected this week, but the recent subzero temperatures may subside, according to the National Weather Service Office in Missoula.

Temperatures in Missoula fell below zero degrees last Thursday night on Jan. 11 and haven't topped zero degrees since, leaving the region locked in a four-day freeze. Temperatures hit -30 degrees at 4:53 a.m. on Jan. 13.

Missoula warmed to zero degrees on Sunday, which has been the warmest recording since last week's arctic air moved into the region. Temperatures on Monday hit -17 degrees at 5:45 a.m.

But at some point this afternoon, forecasters believe temperatures will reach 4 degrees – the first above-zero reading in more than 96 hours. And while temperatures will warm into the mid-30s later this week, it'll bring snow with it.

“Confidence continues to increase in a widespread snowfall event impacting the Northern Rockies beginning late Tuesday night,” the Missoula weather office noted in its morning brief.

“In addition to the potentially significant snowfall, forecast models have been trending toward the arrival of a modified Arctic cold front in northwest Montana by late Wednesday. While this front would not pack the punch of this past weekend’s record-breaking event, it would still bring cold temperatures and potential enhancement of snowfall.”

Forecasters are calling for heavy mountain snow and light-to-moderate snow in regional valleys this week.

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