What's Next? A Wicked Wind

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Posted at 5:47 PM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 20:40:01-04

Thunderstorms have peppered the state over the last few days. The storms have produced some good rain and cleaner air, but also hundreds of lightning strikes. These lightning strikes could be smoldering on a mountainside waiting for lower humidity and gusty wind to take off into a wildfire. That's exactly what's coming next as a cold front will move through the state with increasing wind for the end of the workweek. Thursday the thunderstorm activity will be limited to the central and eastern sections of the state. A stronger west wind will increase the fire danger through the afternoon and evening. Gusts could top 20-25mph. Highs will warm into the 90s for most of central and western areas, but a few 100s in eastern Montana. Friday the front will move out of eastern Montana. Some cooler air will move across the state, with highs in the 80s and low 90s, and a few 70s in the higher terrain. The problem will be a decrease in humidity and strong afternoon winds of up to 30mph, increasing the fire danger. It's very likely that the entire state will be under RED FLAG WARNING conditions. Some good news, there will be cooler nights into the weekend with some areas dropping into the 40s. Saturday will be sunny, hazy and warm. Highs will be in the 80s and low 90s. The wind will be light out of the north, so the fire danger will ease up some. Sunday will be sunny and hazy with highs in the upper 80s to upper 90s. West wind will reach 10-15mph in the afternoon. Another surge of near record heat is likely early next week. Highs will be right around 100 on Monday and Tuesday. With afternoon wind increasing to 20mph, the fire danger will be screaming. Slightly cooler temperatures and a few isolated thunderstorms will move back into the state on Wednesday.

Curtis Grevenitz
Chief Meteorologist