BILLINGS — We have a little less smoke in the Billings area Thursday afternoon than what we had the previous night at 6 p.m. However, the sky is sunny, and the temperature is at 75 degrees with a south wind at 6 mph.
Around the rest of the state, the temps are mostly to the 70s, but we do see a few places like Missoula, Helena, Bozeman and Livingston already into the 80s.
We also have a new Fire Weather Watch for Saturday afternoon until 10 p.m. Saturday for the Billings area and much of south-central Montana. A little farther to the east, it stays in effect until midnight Saturday.
The fire weather watch was issued because we are expecting high winds, low humidity and warmer temperatures, which could cause erratic fire behavior Saturday. It can also cause additional fire starts.
Plus, we have an air quality warning for much of south-central Montana until 11:30 a.m. Friday. It includes the counties of Carbon, Bighorn, Rosebud, Powder River and Carter. The air quality in these counties is deemed unhealthy.
The Doppler radar is picking up smoke plumes from the Bobcat fire that broke out Wednesday night. In addition, it is picking up more smoke and ash from fires west of Billings.
The high-resolution forecast model shows things continue to remain mild in eastern Montana, but warmer temperatures are moving in from the west as a stationary front becomes a warm front on Friday morning.
The warm air will continue to cook things up in the Billings area and eventually push us up to the 100-degree range on Saturday.
We will be at 86 degrees at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, then cool back down into the 50s in the morning and up to 80 degrees by 1:30 p.m. Friday.
We will top out at 89 on Friday, up to 100 degrees on Saturday, then back down the 55 for high on Tuesday afternoon with a chance of rain and snow that morning.
TONIGHT: Mostly clear and mild. Northeast winds 5 to 15 mph this evening shifting to the southwest 5 to 10 mph overnight. Low 53 degrees.
FRIDAY: Sunny and warmer. Southwest winds 5 to 15 mph. High 89 degrees.
SATURDAY: Mostly sunny and very hot again. West winds 5 to 15 mph high 100 degrees.