City and county emergency services are prepared for possible thunderstorms and high winds which are forecast to hit western Montana Friday evening. As rain starts to dribble down the KGVO window, the National Weather Service is already predicting damaging winds and isolated thunderstorms. 

Missoula Police Sergeant Travis Welsh said Missoula Police and Fire Departments, as well as the 911 Center, have extra staff scheduled to provide services as needed.

As of 2:30 p.m., Missoula County continued to be under a "severe thunderstorm watch" until 9 p.m., according to NBC Montana. 

In addition to gusty winds and isolated thunder and lightning, large, quarter-sized hail is also predicted in Missoula, Lemhi, Ravalli, Lake, Granite, Powell, Beaverhead, Deer Lodge, Silver Bow, Madison, Broadwater Lewis and Clark, Meagher, Park, and Gallatin counties.

Welsh said Missoula Parks and Recreation and Public Works maintenance crews are also on call to provide tree debris removal and assistance to emergency services and citizens. In addition, the Missoula Fire Department is coordinating with state and federal agencies to prepare for potential wild land fires.

NWS issued a "Red Flag Warning" until midnight Friday for western Montana and predict wind gusts up to 60 mph. This from NWS at 3:33 p.m.:

 

...SIGNIFICANT WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SOUTHEASTERN MISSOULA AND NORTH

CENTRAL RAVALLI COUNTIES UNTIL 415 PM MDT...

 

AT 332 PM MDT...DOPPLER RADAR WAS TRACKING A STRONG THUNDERSTORM OVER

FLORENCE...OR 15 MILES SOUTH OF MISSOULA...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 40

MPH.

 

HALF INCH HAIL AND WIND GUSTS UP TO 50 MPH WILL BE POSSIBLE WITH THIS

STORM.

 

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...

MISSOULA...LOLO...FLORENCE...EAST MISSOULA...BONNER-WEST RIVERSIDE...

CLINTON...POTOMAC...TURAH...GREENOUGH AND TWIN CREEKS.

 

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

 

FREQUENT CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING IS OCCURRING WITH THIS STORM.

LIGHTNING CAN STRIKE 15 MILES AWAY FROM A THUNDERSTORM. SEEK A SAFE

SHELTER INSIDE A BUILDING OR VEHICLE.

 

&&

 

A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 900 PM MDT FOR

WEST CENTRAL MONTANA.

 

KGVO News will update you with more information.