Powerful winds forecast for northern Montana through Friday

GREAT FALLS (AP) — Hold onto your hats, and maybe your lawn ornaments.

The National Weather Service is forecasting prolonged, strong winds along the northern Rocky Mountain Front and the plains to the east through Friday afternoon.

Gusts from 80 to 100 mph are forecast along the Front with gusts in the 70 mph range in the rest of the warning area, which includes Conrad, Great Falls, Havre, Harlem, Lewistown and Harlowton.

The most damaging winds are forecast from Thursday night into Friday morning, making travel difficult for high-profile vehicles. Strong winds could also lead to power outages and tree or property damage.

Strong winds will combine with snow on the west side of the Rocky Mountains, causing near whiteout conditions through Friday, especially in the Marias Pass area just south of Glacier National Park.