Finally…rain and snow.  A big change in the weather pattern will mark the beginning of the end of this helacious fire season.  RED FLAG WARNING conditions were still occurring across north central Montana Monday afternoon and evening, and Tuesday will be hot, dry, and breezy as well.  Highs will warm into the 80s and 90s, but it could be the last day of 90s this year.  Wildfire growth is still likely, smoke will still be an issue, and new wildfire starts are certainly still possible if people are careless.  Wednesday, a cold front will bring cooler air and a northerly wind shift to the state.  Highs will reach the 70s and 80s, but fall into the 50s and 60s with a north wind up to 20mph.  Relative humidity will increase, but only a few isolated thunderstorms are possible.  Thursday will be cloudy and cool to start, with rain becoming more widespread through the afternoon and evening.  Highs will only be in the 50s and 60s, with 40s in the mountains.  Rain will become steady overnight, and snow levels will drop below 7,000 feet.  Rain and mountain snow will continue on Friday, with very chilly temperatures.  Highs in the lower elevations will be in the 40s and 50s, but 20s and 30s in the mountains will support more snow.  Snow accumulation above 8,000′ could come close to 12″.  Widespread rain accumulation will be between 0.50″-2.00″.  This is a great, soaking rain storm.  Saturday, showers and mountain snow showers will taper off.  It will be chilly with highs in the 50s and 60s, still 30s and 40s in the mountains.  Saturday night, widespread frost and freezing conditions are possible, which is statistically right around the average first frost/freeze of the season.  Sunday and Monday will be warmer and drier, but another storm with cool temperatures, rain, and mountain snow will move in next week.

Fire season will not be completely extinguished, and we all need to be very careful with the ongoing drought and high fire danger.  However, this storm will certainly put a huge damper on the wildfires burning in the state.  Hallelujah!

Curtis Grevenitz

Chief Meteorologist

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