In a matter of about 24 hours, Missoula is transitioning from harsh cold to heavy snow.

Meteorologist Trent Smith with the National Weather Service office said at about noon on Monday, December 9, that Missoula can expect several inches of dry power-type snow today, to be followed by a heavy wet snow tonight that will affect the Tuesday morning commute.

"The temperatures aloft have warmed up just enough that we got into an area of snow crystals called dendrites, which are those really large flakes, so we got really high snow ratios," Smith said. "That means there's very little moisture in the snow, but a lot of snow depth. This transitioned a lot faster than we were anticipating, so that's why many areas around the Missoula valley were seeing three to four inches of snow by noon today."

Smith says there is more snow expected Monday night into Tuesday morning.

"We actually do have another disturbance coming in tonight, which should bring more moisture, so that by tomorrow morning's commute we could have another three inches of snow," Smith said. "A few areas could even see an additional five inches of snow by Tuesday morning."

Meteorologist Trent Smith