Once again smoky skies seem to dominate the weather story Friday, in the early afternoon.
That may change as a new batch of showers and thunderstorms start firing up across the southwest corner the state.
In the meantime, our temperatures will be somewhat cooler as we finish up the work week. We expect our highs to stay into the upper 80s thanks to the smoky skies and an overnight cold front..
All of the smoke is still coming from the northern California fires as it wafts its way to the Great Basin area and into Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.
And, of course, all the smoke has decreased our air quality across eastern Montana to where our air quality is only “moderate” as opposed to “good” in the northwest corner the state.
The Red Flag Warnings across much of Montana continue to stay with us until around midnight, with high winds and low humidity should a fire get going it will burn out of control and hurry in those areas.
The Thunderstorm Outlook for Friday does show a marginal risk of severe storms across southern Montana and northern Wyoming. This will add to the fire risk across the region.
And in fact, the Doppler radar and satellite imagery shows some thunderstorms are already starting to fire up just south of Bozeman and headed toward Billings.
The High Resolution Forecast Model shows those storms be moving into the Billings area about 5 p.m. on Friday evening then blow out of the state by 10 p.m.
This means the storms will not stick around very long to cause any flooding but we could see some strong cloudbursts as they move overhead.
TONIGHT: Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance for showers and thunderstorms early in the evening and again later overnight. Some storms may produce gusty winds with them. West winds 5 to 15 mph. Low 57 degrees.
SATURDAY: Mostly sunny and not as warm. Northwest winds 5 to 15 mph. High 83 degrees.
SUNDAY: Mostly sunny with a 20 percent chance for showers and thunderstorms. Northeast winds 5 to 15 mph. High 81 degrees.