A severe windstorm hammered parts of Montana with gusts climbing to more than 70 miles per hour Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

The Fallon County region avoided the biggest blasts.

According to Fallon County Disaster and Emergency Services director Chuck Lee, gusts reached 55 miles per hour in the eastern Montana region.

“We are used to it,” he said Monday, noting that looking ahead the area may also get some snow in the coming days, but with milder winds.

It was in Glacier and Blaine counties where the winds hit the hardest in the Treasure State, measured at more than 70 miles per hour.

Nearby, southwestern North Dakota was hammered by winds of nearly 70 miles per hour as the storm front moved through the region over the weekend.

Hettinger Airport was buffeted by 66 miles per hour wind gusts, a measurement duplicated near Mott and Gladstone. Bowman Airport was hit almost as hard, with gusts up to 61 miles per hour. Sand Creek, near Amidon, had gusts of 56 miles per hour, while a second Bowman area measurement hit 55 miles per hour.

The wind combined with precipitation to make many of the roads in the area dangerously icy.

In Montana, the National Weather Service’ Climate Projection Center has issued a monthly forecast that the state and the western part of North Dakota will get cooler in mid-January and continue through the end of the month. The outlook reportedly has equal chances of above, below and normal for eastern Montana.

But there will be a trend toward colder weather throughout the region.

Getting colder soon

According to the North Dakota Storm Stalkers, the upper Midwest will get very cold very soon. “Arctic air will return to the Northern Plains after Jan 12.

“Mild weather will mostly dominate the area for the next week and a half, but a chunk of the Arctic air mass will move in after the 12th. Even though temperatures will be well below normal, it’s not abnormal for these arctic outbreaks to happen this time of year.

“Expect wind chills to drop below minus-40 and several days of sub zero air temperature,” the group posted online.

The cold will likely stick around for a while, the group also predicted.

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