BILLINGS — It may certainly look like autumn out there, but the temperature says no, it is still summer in Billings. Early Thursday afternoon, it was 87 degrees with a southwest wind at 17 gusting to 23 mph.
Smoke still seems to be an issue as the strong, southwesterly winds are blowing smoke from fires in Idaho, the Great Basin area and northern California. However, we do think it is just a matter of time before the winds blow most of the smoke out of the state.
Air quality in Montana is basically good to moderate with one spot, Malta, reporting unhealthy air quality.
Our current temperatures around the state are mostly to the 50s and 60s out west, 70s and a few 80s are across the rest of Montana. Sheridan reported 90 degrees.
We do have a Red Flag Warning for Montana and northern Wyoming. High winds, high temperatures and low humidity will all come together Thursday to elevate the wildfire risk in the warned area.
The Doppler radar shows rain and clouds caught up in that southwesterly flow of air Thursday. At the surface, we are still enjoying that warm front sweeping across eastern Montana, and a new cold front will be moving in later Thursday evening.
By Friday morning, that cold front will clear the Billings area, and we will be left with cooler temperatures and sunny skies until that afternoon.
That's when another system races across the state brings a chance for additional showers and cooler temperatures, Friday night into Saturday morning.
It will be 76 degrees in Billings at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, then the temperatures will drop back down to the 50s overnight and get back up to 66 degrees by 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
We will top out at 71 on Friday, then cool back down to the 60s over the weekend. We get up to 76 degrees by Monday and back to the 60s on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.
TONIGHT: Mostly cloudy with a 30% chance for rain this evening and a slight chance for rain overnight and colder. Northwest winds 10 to 20 mph. Low 52 degrees.
FRIDAY: Decreasing clouds with a 20% chance for rain in the afternoon and cooler. Southwest winds 10 to 20 mph. High 71 degrees.
SATURDAY: Decreasing clouds with a 20% chance for isolated rain showers and breezy. West winds 15 to 25 mph. High 67 degrees.