BILLINGS — Man, is it really smoky out there right now. The visibility in Billings is now down to 6 miles, but the temperature is up to 71 degrees in early Thursday afternoon.
Above that layer of smoke, it's mostly sunny and the winds on the northeast at 5 mph.
Around the rest of the state, our current temps are mostly into the 60s and 70s everywhere we look. The air quality is basically just unhealthy and terrible for the western two-thirds of the state. The eastern third of Montana is reporting good to moderate air quality.
Plus, we have an Air Quality Warning until 9 a.m. Friday for much of western and southern Montana. Those with respiratory problems will find it difficult to breathe outside in the smoke.
The big upper-level, low-pressure cell in the Pacific Ocean continues to get a little bit closer to shore and, in the process, is sending a little bit of rain across central California into Nevada.
As that low gets closer to California, it will start blowing most of the smoke to the northeast and right at Montana.
But the good news is there's a new cold front moving in from the West Coast. It promises to bring cooler temperatures and rain for the weekend.
It is hoped that this next system will either wash out or blow most of the smoke away. At 6 p.m., it will be 74 degrees in the Billings area, cooling down the 51 in the morning and back up to 75 degrees by 2 p.m. Friday.
We will top out at 83 on Friday, 81 on Saturday, then cool down a 74 on Sunday and back to the upper 70s and 80s through the middle part of next week.
TONIGHT: Mostly clear with areas of smoke. Northeast winds 5 to 15 mph. Low 50 degrees.
FRIDAY: Sunny with areas of smoke again. West winds 5 to 10 mph the morning shifting to the Southeast in the afternoon. High 83 degrees.
SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy with a 30% chance for rain that afternoon and a 60% chance of rain that night. Southwest winds 5 to 15 mph. High 81 degrees.