BILLINGS — There are plenty of blue skies and warm temperatures moving into the Billings area Thursday. At 1:30 p.m. Thursday, the temperature was already up into the low 70s and expected to go much higher before the day is done.
A little bit of a smoke layer has given us a slow start to the heating process Thursday, but we are still expecting to get into the upper 80s.
Around the rest of the state, current temps are mostly to the 60s and 70s and the 80s are not far behind, especially at Livingston, Cody and Jordan.
Our smoke forecast shows smoke already across much of Montana and is expected to stay that way through Friday into Saturday and eventually start to kick out here by Sunday afternoon.
Now Thursday, we have a Red Flag Warning from Canada into Wyoming through central Montana. In the Billings area, that Red Flag Warning stays with us until 9 p.m.
The Red Flag Warning means there is an increased wildfire risk in the warned area. Grasslands Thursday are especially at risk of burning.
Right now, the Doppler radar shows the only showers are in British Columbia and parts of Alberta. Nothing in Montana and Wyoming.
Our high-resolution forecast model shows it's pretty apt to stay that way into Saturday afternoon, when the first wave of rainfall starts moving into northwestern Montana.
We believe those showers will push into the Billings area sometime Saturday night and Sunday morning.
In the meantime, it will be 84 degrees at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and then we cool all way back down to the upper 40s by Friday morning. Then it's up to 69 degrees by 12:30 p.m. Friday.
We will top out at 76 degrees on Friday, then up to 84 on Saturday.
However, after that, a strong cold front moves through and knocks us back to the 50s and 60s for Sunday, through Wednesday with a good chance of rain Saturday night and Sunday.
TONIGHT: Partly cloudy and cooler. West winds 5 to 15 mph. Low 47 degrees.
FRIDAY: Sunny and not as warm. Southwest winds 5 to 15 mph. High 76 degrees.
SATURDAY: Mostly sunny and warmer. Southwest winds 10 to 20 mph. High 84 degrees.