The National Weather Service is predicting heavy snow for the mountains around western Montana in the next few days, along with a significant amount in the valleys.

Meteorologist Marty Whitmore said there are already bands of snow setting up over the Missoula and Bitterroot areas.

“There’s a nice moist flow that’s going to ride over some of that cold air that we have in place, and that’s a pretty good setup for snow occurring,” said Whitmore. “We’ve got snow bands out there today, and those are going to give way to more widespread light to moderate snow. Here in the valley, we’re not expecting a tremendous amount where we could see up to three inches overnight, but it looks like an extended period of that. We could keep seeing surges right on through Wednesday afternoon and then again on Thursday.”

Whitmore said the western Montana mountains will bear the brunt of the coming snowfall.

“The big winners here will be the mountains to our west including the Bitterroots on up northwest Montana and the Flathead Valley on up to the Bob Marshall and Glacier park areas,” he said. “Those areas will get some heavy loads. By the time Wednesday ends, they could see a foot or two of new snow up in those areas.”

Whitmore said forecasters are optimistic that temperatures in the next few days might rise up to near the freezing mark of 32 degrees.