An AIR QUALITY ALERT is in effect until at least 11am Tuesday for southwestern Montana and portions of central Montana. The air quality is generally going to be in the unhealthy and/or unhealthy for sensitive groups categories.
A RED FLAG WARNING is in effect for most of northern Montana until 9pm Monday. Gusty winds, hot temperatures, and low relative humidity are going to make it hard to contain any new fires that start.
A FIRE WEATHER WATCH is in effect for all of Montana from 12pm Wednesday until 12am Thursday. Gusty winds, low relative humidity, and very hot temperatures are going to make it hard to contain any new fires that start. Isolated dry thunderstorms during the afternoon and evening may also spark some new fires.
A HEAT ADVISORY is in effect for central and eastern portions of Montana from 12pm until 8pm Wednesday. High temperatures are going to be between 95˚ and 105˚.
This is going to be a crazy week of weather as almost everything is in the forecast. First and foremost, let’s talk about the haze and smoke. It is going to be consistently smoky in southwestern Montana and in portions of central Montana, specifically around the Helena area, through at least Wednesday. This means that the air quality in these areas is going to continue to be at least unhealthy for sensitive groups, if not unhealthy for everyone.
In north-central Montana, it is going to be hazy through at least Wednesday, and at times it will be smoky. The air quality will generally be in the moderate or unhealthy for sensitive groups categories, but at times the air quality will be good or unhealthy for everyone. If you are sensitive to smoke in the atmosphere, please keep an eye on the air quality and try and limit your time outdoors over the next few days.
Next, let’s talk about the temperature roller coaster that we are about to go on. On Tuesday, it is going to be a little cooler than it was today as highs are going to be in the 80s and low 90s. Record heat is then expected on Wednesday (similar to what we saw on Saturday) as highs are going to be in the 90s and low 100s. The temperatures are then going to plummet into the 70s on Thursday and the mid to upper 50s and low to mid 60s on Friday. Friday will also be the coolest day that we have had since June in many locations.
Lows will fluctuate over the next several nights as well. Lows tonight are going to be in the mid to upper 40s and low to mid 50s. Lows are then going to be in the 50s and low 60s Tuesday night and Wednesday night. 40s are then expected for lows Thursday night, while the mid to upper 30s and low 40s are expected for lows Friday night. There are also going to be some areas of frost around Friday night, especially in the higher elevations and the normally colder valleys, so make sure you protect any sensitive plants that you may have.
As we head into this weekend, the temperatures are going to warm back up with highs in the 70s and low 80s on Saturday and the 80s and low 90s on Sunday. Lows will warm up as well with lows in the mid to upper 40s and low to mid 50s Saturday night and Sunday night.
Finally, lets talk about cloud cover and precipitation. Tuesday is going to be sunny and dry. Wednesday is then going to have increasing clouds with some isolated PM showers and thunderstorms around. Little precipitation is expected with these thunderstorms, which means that the lightning from these thunderstorms may start a few new fires.
We are then going to have a chance to see some showers and thunderstorms on Thursday and Friday. A little mountain snow is also possible Thursday night and Friday. We are also going to have partly cloudy to mostly sunny skies on these two days. Mostly sunny skies and dry conditions are then expected this weekend.