An AIR QUALITY ALERT continues for the entire state of Montana.
A RED FLAG WARNING has been issued for southwest and central Montana for Thursday afternoon.
The entire state of Montana is under an AIR QUALITY ALERT. Air quality has mainly been between "moderate" and "unhealthy" for the last few days. Air quality will continue to suffer as fires across the state and the West continue to emit large amounts of smoke. There will be thunderstorms and eventually cooler air moving through a lot of the state, and a change in the pattern may direct cleaner air across Big Sky country by late this weekend into early next week. Thursday will have a good chance at thunderstorms by the afternoon. Scattered storms will produce rain but also lightning strikes, thus the RED FLAG WARNING for southwest and central Montana. It is likely that new wildfires are started by lightning strikes, but there also will be heavy rain at times. These storms will move into central Montana by later in the evening. Highs will be in the 80s and 90s, cooler west where clouds and storms will move in earlier. This system will continue to produce rain and thunderstorms through Thursday night into Friday. The heavier rain and higher concentration of thunderstorms will be across the southern half of Montana. Highs will be a little cooler on Friday, in the 70s and 80s. As this storm system moves east later in the day, the wind will increase out of the west. Wind will be a major issue for Saturday, and there will likely be RED FLAG WARNING conditions for most of Montana. Some gusts could approach 30mph out of the west, there will be low humidity, and highs in the 80s to around 90. Sunday a cold front will move into the state with increasing clouds, showers and thunderstorms through the day. Highs will only be in the 70s and 80s, and the higher elevations will be much cooler. There will likely be snow in the mountains above 8500' on Sunday night. Monday will have some showers early with partly cloudy and breezy conditions by the afternoon. Highs will only be in the 70s. It should be a nice but brief break from the heat and the smoke.