Warm & Windy Ahead of the Last Summer Storm

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Posted at 5:49 PM, Sep 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-16 20:38:47-04

A RED FLAG WARNING has been issued for most areas east of the Continental Divide for Friday.
A HIGH WIND WATCH has been issued for along and east of the Continental Divide for Saturday.

From a killer frost to fire to wildfire smoke to rain and snow...the last week of summer will have it all. First, wildfire smoke from the Crooks Fire near Arlee will be visible this evening near Helena. A thick smoke plume is headed our way as today's wind created growth on that blaze. Tonight's temperatures will be very chilly with lows reaching the upper 20s and low 30s. A killing frost is possible, so if you want to save your plants you must either cover them up or bring them inside. A major storm will move into the West and the Rockies this weekend. This storm will do wonders for the wildfire situation as rain will fall over many fires. Temperatures will be much colder with this storm, cold enough for some snow in the mountains. But until we get to that storm, there will be several days with wind and the fire threat is not over with yet. Friday will be partly cloudy, warm and windy with highs in the 70s. High fire danger is likely for most locations east of the Divide. Saturday a cold front will move over the Continental Divide through the afternoon and evening. West of the Divide will have rain showers, most areas east of the Divide will be dry. Highs will range from the 60s west to the low 90s in eastern Montana. Central areas including Helena and Great Falls will top out near 80. Strong west winds could gust up to 55mph. Sunday will be a cooler and cloudy day with rain developing from west to east through the morning. The rain could be steady at times. This storm will produce widespread rain and higher elevation snow for most of the state by Sunday evening. Highs will be chilly in the 40s and 50s. The mountains, cold enough for snow, will have highs in the 20s and 30s. Several inches of snow will accumulate in the mountains, with snow mixing in with rain perhaps down to around 5000' at times early Monday. Monday will be a showery, blustery day with cool temperatures. Warmer temperatures and sunny skies are likely for the final day of summer and the first few days of autumn. Fall officially begins Wednesday at 1:21pm.

Curtis Grevenitz
Chief Meteorologist