HELENA, Mont. — The days leading up to Christmas will be cold and snowy in Montana.

The National Weather Service has posted winter storm warnings and watches for much of the northern half of Montana.

A backcountry avalanche watch was issued for the Flathead, Whitefish and Swan ranges.

Heavy snow and areas of blowing snow is possible, likely causing difficult travel conditions, especially Tuesday. Snow accumulations of 5 to 8 inches, with localized amounts up to 16 inches, are possible.

A winter storm warning has been posted from midnight Monday into Wednesday morning for northwest Montana.

A winter storm watch has been issued for an area that includes Kalispell, Great Falls, Havre and Glasgow.

Bitter cold temperatures will accompany the snow and last through the weekend.

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