Above average temperatures and smoky conditions continue

Smoke and haze won't stop 80 degree highs.
Posted at 6:50 PM, May 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-21 21:29:45-04

WEATHER DISCUSSION: Thankfully for North-central Montana, above-average temperatures are in store for the weekend with highs reaching into the 80’s for Saturday and Sunday. Sunday will be the warmest day of the upcoming week so, it would normally be the optimal day to get outside and enjoy the warm temperatures. However, an Air Quality Alert is currently in affect for all counties in Montana until 9 am on Sunday. Elevated particulate levels such as fine particles in the air like ash are coming into the state from Canada due to ongoing wildfires. An improvement is expected for Monday due to widespread moisture that has chances of making an appearance.

052023 Air quality alert

The weekend is seeing warmer temperatures due to upper level ridging in the region. Despite highs in the 80’s, chances for thunderstorms and showers can’t be ruled out across the Hi-Line due to a moist, South-West flow aloft over the Northern Rockies. Most of the precipitation will be seen in the upper, mountainous area’s but seeing scattered showers in the lower elevations is possible.

052023 Sunday ridging

Following the upper-level ridge is a longwave trough that will be affective in cooling down temperatures in the next work week to the 70’s with near daily chances for showers and thunderstorms to occur.

052023 Monday troughing

Winds are expected to travel South throughout most of Sunday which will add to the unhealthy particulate levels due to smoke but luckily, wind speeds will remain light. Monday will see increasing wind speeds and as we head into the week, gusts have the possibility of reaching 50 mph in some places according to our Wind Gust Tracker. Breezy conditions are expected to return next week.

052025 Tuesday Wind Gust Tracker

SATURDAY NIGHT: Areas of smoke, partly cloudy with lows in the 50’s. Light, 5-7 mph winds.

SUNDAY:  Small chance of showers in the evening. Patchy smoke, sunny with highs in the mid-upper 80’s. Light, 7-9 mph winds.

MONDAY: Showers likely and possible thunderstorms in the afternoon. Partly sunny with highs in the upper 70’s. 8-13 mph winds with gusts up to 18 mph.

TUESDAY: Sunny with highs in the 70’s. Breezy, 7-13 mph winds with gusts up to 18 mph.

WEDNESDAY: Chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny with highs in the 70’s. Winds sustaining around 9 mph.

THURSDAY: Chance of showers, partly sunny with highs in the 70’s.

FRIDAY: Showers likely, partly sunny with highs in the 70’s.

052023 GF 7 day
052023 Helena 7 day