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Entries in Montana heatwave (8)


Hot weather returns

Another hot day ends at Gates of the Mountains- USFS photo(MISSOULA)- After a few days of cooler weather, temperatures soared back into the mid and upper 90s for a second day across Western Montana. 

The National Weather Service says Thompson Falls and Drummond had both hit highs of 97-degrees by early Saturday evening. But several other unofficial readings in the west half of the state were already close to the mark, and might even eclipse it. Both St. Regis and Plains weather stations were showing readings of 100 at sunset, and Stevensville also was showing a 100-degree mark as the day came to a close. Three Forks also may have hit the century mark. 

Temperatures were generally in the 80s, and low 90s, with a few upper 70s east of the Divide.

Forecasters say a hot, dry ridge of high pressure remains over the Northern Rockies, although a disturbance over Eastern Oregon might spin off some unstable area, leading to isolated, and likely dry thunderstorms over the Southern Bitterroot and the Lemhi Valley. There's also a chance of isolated t-storms over the Idaho panhandle could slip into NW Montana early Sunday morning. 

Temperatures are expected to remain in the upper 80s and low 90s for the next couple of days. 



Eastern Montana cities take Tuesday "frying pan" award

It was even hot at Lake McDonald Tuesday, with the mercury hitting 90 in West Glacier- GNP photo(BILLINGS)- While temperatures soared again all across the Treasure State, it was Eastern Montana communities that saw the triple digits on Tuesday. 

The July heat wave, which finally spread to the entire state late last week, continues to hold a group on most of Montana, with temperatures running as much as 15-degrees or more above average. 

However, much of Western Montana saw temperatures ease somewhat on Tuesday because of lingering cloud cover from a series of thunderstorms that developed west of the Divide on Monday afternoon. Missoula "cooled" to a modest 90-degrees, and was still in the mid-70s at mid-day. Kalispell checked in with a high of 91, Hamilton was as much as 10-degrees cooler with a high of 88 and Butte hit 89.

But the heat returned with a vengance in much of the east half of the state. 

Jordan, Fort Peck and Roundup all tied for Tuesday's high at a blistering 103-degrees. It was 102 again in Malta, and also in Miles City and Wolf Point. Glasgow was right at the century mark while Billings topped out at 98. 

The National Weather Service is predicting hotter temperatures west of the Divide on Wednesday and Thursday, with many cities hitting the upper 90s, and likely breaking 100 on Friday, which forecasters expected to the hottest day of the week. Most of Eastern Montana will continue to see many areas topping 100. 

However, a change is coming Friday night and Saturday, as the ridge of high pressure breaks down. That should help ease temperatures, at least in the west. 


River levels climb with warmer weather

(MISSOULA)- Temperatures climbing back into the 80s and even the 90s again Tuesday are expected to bring another rise in levels on some Western Montana rivers. But the potential for high water isn’t anywhere close to the flooding we experienced last year.

For the second time this spring, hydrologists are forecasting some rivers in the region will see snowmelt generating more high water by mid-week. As with the first warm spell a few weeks ago, most of that runoff is expected to impact only a few select rivers.

In Ravalli County, where the Bitterroot River had dropped to more normal conditions the past couple of weeks, water levels on the river, and some of the smaller streams could approach flood stage again by the middle of the week. The lower Bitterroot, as well as the Clark Fork at Missoula will see waters rise, but might not approach flood stage until Thursday or Friday. And even then the forecast is still a couple of feet lower than during last June’s flooding.

The same is true in Lincoln County, where the Yaak River may approach minor flood stage by the middle of the week. Other smaller streams like Lake and Libby Creeks could cause some flooding, although the often-problematic Fisher River is expected to stay within its banks.

In Flathead County, river forecasters believe the Middle Fork, North Fork and mainstream of the Flathead could approach flood stage later this week. But the forecast still has the river a foot below flood stage at Columbia Falls. 

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