High Winds, High Fire Danger & Severe Storms

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Posted at 5:53 PM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-18 20:09:56-04

A HIGH WIND WARNING is in effect for most of Montana.
A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH continues for northeast Montana.
A RED FLAG WARNING is in effect for southwest Montana.

A strong low pressure moving across the state is bringing a variety of extreme weather to the state. Severe thunderstorms have struck northeast Montana but will be moving out this evening. Most of the state has experienced very powerful wind gusting higher than 60mph. This type of wind is not good any time of year, but especially in the middle of summer after a few days of thunderstorm activity. A new fire in the Sapphire Mountains east of the Bitterroot Valley developed in the wind, but a much larger fire near Salmon, Idaho has blown up. The Moose Fire south of the Bitterroot is up to 3600 acres and is growing fast. The smoke plume can be seen across much of the state. Strong wind will continue to howl into the night. With the wind, new wildfire starts are a possibility from lightning strike holdovers. The wind will continue into the night with temperatures cooling off. Tuesday the worst of the wind will be in eastern Montana. Most of the state will have a 10-20mph west wind with gusts up to 30mph. It will be sunny with highs in the 80s to around 90. Wednesday will be sunny and dry with highs in the 80s and low 90s, and a wind up to 20mph in the afternoon. Thursday will be a little warmer with highs in the low to mid 90s, but it does not appear that temperatures will reach record levels anytime soon. A weak area of low pressure will produce a few isolated thunderstorms on Friday, but most of the state will be dry. Highs will be in the 80s and 90s. This weekend will be warm and dry with highs in the 80s and 90s.

Curtis Grevenitz
Chief Meteorologist