A RED FLAG WARNING has been issued for most of Montana east of the Continental Divide for Thursday afternoon and evening.
An AIR STAGNATION ALERT has been issued for areas west of the Continental Divide into Thursday.
I hope you enjoyed Wednesday's near perfect fall weather because that's the end of the sunny, warm, calm and dry stretch. The winds of change will seriously start blowing on Thursday, signifying incoming changes and also creating fire danger. The first in a series of cold fronts will move down into the state on Thursday with mainly just strong wind. Because it has been warm and dry, this wind will create elevated fire danger especially out across the plains. If a grass fire were to start, it would take off very quickly in these conditions. Please use caution. There may be an isolated shower, but most of the state will be dry. Highs will be warm again, reaching the 70s. Skies may become smoky as wildfires to our west increase in activity. There also has been a buildup of smoke in this part of the country under the high pressure. Friday will turn mostly cloudy with an increasing wind, decreasing temperatures and more showers late in the day. Highs will be in the 40s north, 50s and 60s elsewhere. Light rain will increase through the afternoon and evening. Some snow will mix in near the Canadian border closer to Cut Bank and the Sweet Grass Hills. The mountains will see some snow above about 6000' through the evening. Friday night the snow levels will lower in the western part of the state. Saturday will be cloudy with rain and snow in the lower elevations, isolated thunderstorms, mountain snow, stronger wind and falling temperatures. By afternoon and evening, snow levels will be dropping down below 5000' to possibly as low as the valleys and plains. Highs will mainly top out in the 40s and 50s. Areas of rain will continue to transition to snow through Saturday night with the potential of accumulating snow in the lower elevations. Sunday will be colder with areas of snow. Highs will be way down in the 30s and 40s. Wind and snow will make it feel quite wintry for much of the state. Cold and somewhat snowy weather will continue into Monday, with highs more in the 20s and 30s. Most of next week heading to Halloween will be much colder with a series of storms that will keep the weather active with snow in the mountains and a mix in the lower elevations.