A FIRE WEATHER WATCH has been issued for most of central and western Montana for Saturday afternoon and evening.
Happy Meteorological Fall! The first of September is the beginning of fall in the weather-world, however Mother Nature has other plans. The weather over the next week will create the worst fire conditions that Montana will see in 2022 when all is said and done. A late summer heat wave will likely result in record highs including the hottest temperature ever recorded in the month of September for some Montana towns. Some cities in Montana have never hit 100 degrees in September, including Helena and Great Falls. Saturday is likely to be the day, with temperatures cooling just a bit after. A sprawling high pressure continues to build over western North America creating widespread heat, and this pattern should linger through the weekend and into next week. Friday will be sunny and hot with highs in the 80s and 90s, but the wind will not be bad. Labor Day Weekend will be hot, dry and breezy. Record temperatures are possible all three days, with much of the state topping out right near 100 degrees on Saturday. This day could be the hottest day ever recorded in the month of September for numerous cities and towns. Isolated thunderstorms are possible as well. With record heat, gusty wind, low humidity and isolated thunderstorms, RED FLAG WARNING conditions will make for extreme fire danger. For Sunday and Monday, the afternoon readings will cool a few degrees into the mid and upper 90s, but still be near a record level. Afternoon wind will pick up to between 10-20mph just about every day. The heat continues after Labor Day with Tuesday will also very hot and windy. Wednesday could have extreme fire danger with a powerful wind and near record heat. Wind will continue Wednesday night into Thursday, but much cooler air will come in by Thursday afternoon. Friday could even have a few snowflakes in the higher elevations. But the fire danger will be high through the weekend, peaking next week, and will likely be the worst wildfire conditions we experience all year. Wildfire smoke is already on the increase from growing fires outside of Montana. There are several large fires emitting smoke in Idaho, Oregon and northern California. Smoky skies are likely with the potential of deteriorating air quality this weekend.