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High winds and cooler temperatures Sunday

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RED FLAG WARNING for dangerous fire weather conditions from Saturday afternoon to Sunday night for the following counties:

Lincoln Flathead Lake Sanders Mineral Missoula Ravalli Powell Granite Jefferson Deer Lodge Silver Bow Beaverhead Madison

After a dry Saturday afternoon winds will being to increase starting early Sunday as a cold front approaches the area. Winds will reach up to 25 mph sustained Sunday afternoon. Current wildfires will likely experience active growth in the afternoons with large smoke columns while new fires sparked by lightning this week could grow rapidly. Be extremely careful to not cause a spark during this warning and report any new fire starts as soon as possible to local authorities.

Thunderstorms will develop in western parts of our region near the Idaho state line Saturday night with lightning and isolated rainfall. Storms will be more widespread and wetter on Sunday as the front moves in. This is our best chance in a long time for measurable rainfall! A couple hundredths of an inch up to a few tenths of an inch are possible for areas lucky enough to see some rainfall. Storms will stick around into Monday around Bozeman as areas further west dry out again.

Temperatures on Sunday will be much cooler as the front will have moved across the area by the late afternoon. Highs will only be in the 70s for many areas Sunday, Monday, and even Tuesday in a few areas such as Butte.

The windy weather this weekend will help clear out much of the smoke that's settled in the area and send Canadian smoke back to the north Sunday and Monday morning. Unfortunately the wind pattern now looks like it will return to being out of the northwest, sending that smoke right back toward us starting Monday night.

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