Updates on drought, smoke, thunderstorms and heat

Posted at 1:16 PM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-15 15:16:45-04

BOZEMAN – Today's weather forecast is full of new information. Beginning with the latest drought monitor (updated every Thursday) SW Montana continues to see “Extreme” drought conditions grow over most of Beaverhead, Madison, Gallatin, and Park counties.


“Severe” drought is slowly building over Silver Bow, Deer Lodge counties and “Moderate” drought between Anaconda to Hamilton.

See the graphic below for the percentage breakdown.


Wildfire smoke is back and likely to continue through the weekend into early next week now that the mid to upper-level flow aloft is out of the West to SW. Air quality conditions will vary at times between “moderate” and “unhealthy for sensitive groups”. As of 1 pm Thursday there is no air quality alert in effect but that could change.


Thunderstorms Thursday afternoon and early evening are possible for SW and central Montana counties. The combination of dry thunderstorms, gusty outflow wind, hot and dry conditions have a RED FLAG WARNING in effect from 2 pm to 9 pm Thursday over most of SW Montana.


Please use extreme caution with all outdoor activities as conditions are good for possible new fire starts and especially human caused fires.

Thunderstorms are possible again Friday afternoon and evening.

Lastly, another round of extreme heat is in the forecast this weekend into early next week. Forecast temperatures are currently in the low 90s to low 100s with the peak of the extreme heat arriving Sunday and Monday.