Archive for August, 2011

Hot August days and fire danger!

August 24, 2011

A week left in August and we are still hitting temperatures around 90 degrees or higher. Mostly dry and hot today with a few isolated thunderstorms in southern Montana mountains.

NWS Graphic showing smoke plumes and smokey areas this afternoon.

NWS graphic from this morning. Showing a better idea of the number of fires burning.

NWS updated graphic for fire danger

Thursday remains hot although an arriving cold front is expected to bring some scattered thunderstorms to the state, that will help cool things down a bit. Our only concern is lightning strikes under the extreme dry conditions we are facing.

There is still a Red Flag Warning until 9 pm tonight for areas along the Rocky Mountain Front, as well as Chouteau, Cut Bank and Conrad areas.

Overnight we expect partly cloudy skies and warm temperatures with a low around 60.

Thursday another hot day with a 20% chance of late day showers and thunderstorms with the winds shifting to the north by evening. High near 90 again.

Friday mostly sunny and another 90 degree day and a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. High near 90.

Saturday the hot weather does not end with 90 degrees, plenty of sunshine and a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms.

Sunday mostly sunny and finally a break from the heat. High temperature in the upper 70’s as another cold front passes quickly through the state.

By Monday its back to the upper 80’s and sunny skies.

A battle of the temperatures continues to see-saw. By Tuesday a high in the low 80’s where it belongs this time of the year. We can’t rule out some isolated showers and thunderstorms.

I hope you stay cool on this hot day and have a nice evening.



Red Flag Warning area shrinks

August 23, 2011

Our Red Flag warning has become smaller in size, but extended until 9 pm Wednesday night.

Updated Red Flag Warning area - Natl Weather Service

Gusty winds keep Red Flag Warning in place!

August 23, 2011

We expect windy conditions to continue today over much of the area. Very warm temperatures as well. A Red Flag warning remains in effect until 9 pm tonight for most areas. We have already seen wind gusts in Great Falls near 40 mph.

The warning has also been extended until 9 pm tomorrow night in the following areas: Eastern Glacier county, Toole, central and eastern Pondera and Liberty counties, as well as the Lewis and Clark National Forest Rocky Mountain District and Rocky Mountain Front.

Red Flag Warning areas

Overnight in Great Falls mostly clear and breezy with low in the mid 50’s. West to southwest winds 10-20 mph with gusts near 30 mph.

Wednesday sunny with less wind. High in the lower 90’s.

Thursday mostly sunny with a slight chance of afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. High remains in the low 90’s.

Friday mostly sunny and cooler as another disturbances moves through the state. There is a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms with a high in the upper 70’s.

Saturday mostly sunny and showers with potential thunderstorms. High in the upper 80’s.

Sunday mostly sunny with a high near 80.

Monday sunny and slightly warmer with a high near 84.

I hope you have an enjoyable evening and with the gusty winds please be careful with any activity that could start a fire!


Where is that smoke coming from?

August 22, 2011

Smoke is filling the skies of parts of Montana, including Great Falls. There are 3 fires burning in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Several other fires burning near Bonner and another in Idaho. So depending on where you live will depend on where the smoke is coming from.

Here is the Great Falls National Weather Service summary on our smoke tonight.

Satellite imagery shows the smoke over Great Falls this evening is coming from a large fire (Saddle Complex) south of Darby MT and another smaller fire east of Elk City, ID, rather than from the 3 fires in the Bob Marshall Wilderness like we saw yesterday.

The Bob fires are still sending us smoke, but with southwest flow aloft, that smoke is more in Teton/Pondera counties, and is visible as the lower smoke layer well N/NW of Great Falls.
GF Natl Wx Service.


My friend, Alta Pruyn (pronounced Prine) from Missoula, MT took this photo of the West Riverside fire near Bonner, MT that started today due to gusty winds and hot temperatures; thought I would pass it along and u can use it if you wish.

Fire near Bonner

Kevin Scott

West Riverside Fire near Bonner tonight - KPAX, Missoula

Red Flag Warning extended until 9 pm Tuesday night

August 22, 2011

The Red Flag Warning issued yesterday has been extended due to a cold front that continues to kick up gusty winds in the area. Our very dry and hot weather is not a good combination with strong winds!

High pressure remains in place today bringing hot temperatures for us again. Some isolated thunderstorms are possible again this afternoon and evening, especially in the higher elevations. Some of these storms could contain strong gusty winds.

Statement from the NWS Office in Great Falls. Parts of Glacier County, especially Logan Pass may see wind gusts overnight and tomorrow morning near 70 mph:


A weak cold front will cool temperatures down a bit Tuesday however windy conditions are still expected both today and tomorrow. A Red Flag Warning remains in place until 9 pm Tuesday evening due to dry conditions and gusty winds.

Overnight partly cloudy with gusty winds near 25 mph from the southwest and a low near 60.

Tuesday sunny and windy. Southwest winds building by afternoon from the southwest between 20-25 mph and gusts as high as 40 mph. High temperature in the mid 80’s.

Wednesday sunny and less wind but still hot. High near 90 and southwest winds near 20 mph.

Thursday mostly sunny and still very warm with a high near 90 again.

Friday sunshine and cooler with a high in the low 80’s.

Saturday mostly sunny with a high in the upper 80’s.

Sunday mostly sunny with an afternoon shower or thunderstorm possible. High near 80.

I hope you stay cool, hydrated and enjoy the rest

Red Flag Warning for fire danger issued

August 21, 2011

With gusty winds in our future and hot temperatures the fire danger remains very critical this week.  A Red Flag Warning has been issued for Cascade county and other surrounding areas.

NWS Red Flag Warning areas

Red Flag WarningA term used by fire-weather forecasters to call attention to limited weather conditions of particular importance that may result in extreme burning conditions. It is issued when it is an on-going event or the fire weather forecaster has a high degree of confidence that Red Flag criteria will occur within 24 hours of issuance. Red Flag criteria occurs whenever a geographical area has been in a dry spell for a week or two, or for a shorter period , if before spring green-up or after fall color, and the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) is high to extreme and the following forecast weather parameters are forecasted to be met:
1) a sustained wind average 15 mph or greater
2) relative humidity less than or equal to 25 percent and
3) a temperature of greater than 75 degrees F.
In some states, dry lightning and unstable air are criteria. A Fire Weather Watch may be issued prior to the Red Flag Warning.

Temperatures at 90 or above and some wind is drying out grass and shrubs very quickly.

Monday and Tuesday look windy but no real relief in the hot weather pattern through the end of this week.

Have a great end of your weekend!


We continue to face hot weather this coming week!

August 19, 2011

Another heat wave is moving into Montana beginning this weekend and it looks to stick around next week.  We had better get used to the 90’s again, so that means keep the fans and air conditioners on standby. Summer is certainly not over for us!

You have heard and seen about the heat wave in the south, including Texas. The National Weather Service has completed their study of the month of July. It goes in the record books as the 4th hottest July since records have been kept.

I hope you use plenty of sunscreen, wear a hot and sunglasses to protect your eyes from the weekend sunshine. Stay hydrated in the middle of the day as it really begins to get hot again!

Please have a safe and fun weekend.


A cold front leaves colder air, but clears the air of smoke

August 18, 2011

A surface cold front moved across the state last night, generating a few widely scattered showers and thunderstorms in the higher elevations of central Montana. Behind the front we expect cooler temperatures tonight and Friday. It was certainly a relief to see the skies clear off early in the morning and the smoke from the fire near Dutton Wednesday afternoon leave us as well.

Overnight partly cloudy conditions with northeasterly winds and a low in the chilly mid 40’s.

Friday mostly sunny and dry with a high in the mid 70’s.

Saturday the sun is back out and warmer. High in the low 80’s.

Sunday turning hot with sunny skies and a high near 90.

Monday looks just like Sunday, sunny and hot with another 90 degree day.

Tuesday and Wednesday not much heat relief. Sunny with highs in the upper 80’s. Just a reminder that it is still summer in Montana!

I hope you have great afternoon and evening.


Over 1,000 acre fire near Dutton covering Great Falls with smoke

August 17, 2011

A fire about two miles southwest of  Dutton burned approximately 1,000 acres of stubble field and grass lands on Wednesday afternoon. The fire is said to be under control but light winds are causing dense smoke over a large area. Reports from the area say the fire was apparently started by a combine.

The blaze sent thick smoke pouring into the air and could be seen in Great Falls. Areas like Vaughn, Sun Prairie and many others were reporting dense smoke. The airport reported 5 miles visibility at 9 pm tonight. Malmstrom AFB was also reporting 5 miles visibility.

I stopped about 8 pm and snapped a few pictures from high atop the west side of Great Falls.  The lack of wind is keeping the smoke over our area, although the fire is said to be under control.

Looking south toward the airport

Another view from the north side of Great Falls

Smoke effect on our sunset

Closer to the sun

There are a lot of people driving around trying to find the source of the fire. Those with sensitive lungs may want to avoid being outdoors until the air clears.

Have a nice evening!


Warm and windy weather cause fire concerns

August 16, 2011

The week looks very stable and pleasant. Tomorrow does look more breezy than other days that adds to the concerns about fires and fire safety.

NWS Weather Story

Enjoy the weather but be especially careful around harvest equipment and other outdoor equipment during this dry period of late summer.

Enjoy your day!