Wednesday: Worst Fire Danger Conditions of the Year

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Posted at 5:23 PM, Sep 06, 2022

A RED FLAG WARNING has been issued for all of Montana for Wednesday.
A HEAT ADVISORY has been issued for most of Montana east of the Continental Divide for Wednesday.
An AIR QUALITY ALERT continues for far southwest and southeast Montana.

The combination of record heat, strong wind, low humidity, isolated thunderstorms and summer's cumulative dryness will create the most dangerous fire weather conditions of the year on Wednesday. Instead of the top #10 Most Beautiful Days of the Year, it will be a top #10 Ugliest Days of the Year. Also, get ready for a major temperature swing as parts of Montana go from near 100 on Wednesday to possibly a frost or freeze Friday night into Saturday morning. Extreme fire danger will also proceed light rain and higher elevation snow later this week. BUT we have to get there first. Wednesday will be another incredibly dangerous fire weather day with record heat, strong wind, low humidity and isolated afternoon thunderstorms. Highs will top out in the 90s and low 100s, very similar to the conditions from last Saturday. Air quality will be bad as fires grow, emitting more smoke. The reason for the high fire danger is an approaching cold front that will cross the state into Thursday with cooler air and a possibility of showers. Thursday will be partly cloudy with highs in the 60s up north, 80s down south. The wind will still be pretty strong out of the northwest. Thursday night into Friday, there is a chance of some solid light rain and higher elevation snow. Most of Friday will be mostly cloudy with some showers and mountain snow, especially along and east of the Continental Divide out through central Montana. Highs Friday may hold in the 50s and 60s with the clouds and light precipitation. The mountains could have highs in the 30s and 40s, supporting some wet snow mixing in with the rain. As the storm moves out and high pressure moves in Friday night, temperatures will be the coldest in months. Most areas will drop into the 30s, with a frost or freeze possible. More good news, the rain and this northerly flow should help to clean out some of the smoke, at least temporarily. Saturday will be a gorgeous late summer day with highs in the 70s, clean air and sky, and a light east wind. Temperatures and wind will increase once again for Sunday and Monday. It does look like summer heat and wildfire danger will really start to decrease right after the middle of September through the rest of the month. Moisture from Hurricane Kay in the eastern Pacific may travel up into Montana mid to late next week with a chance of rain.

Please be careful Wednesday.
Curtis Grevenitz
Chief Meteorologist