New Missoula Heat Record, Thunderstorms Predicted for the Fair
Missoula saw a new record set on Tuesday of 103 degrees, according to Meteorologist Jen Kitzmiller with the National Weather Service Office in Missoula.
We spoke to Kitzmiller live on the Montana Morning News show on Wednesday after the new record-high temperature was set for August 9.
“We actually made it up to 103 degrees in Missoula yesterday, which was a record,” said Kitzmiller. “The previous record was 99 degrees and that was back in 1991. It looks like overall we're going to stay pretty warm. We're not going to be quite as hot as we were yesterday, but for the next week, it looks like Missoula is going to continue to see temperatures in the mid to upper 90s. So, they will continue to be above normal for this time of year.”
When the subject of the Western Montana Fair was mentioned, Kitzmiller said there may be some weather moving into western Montana toward the end of the week.
“It's funny that you bring that up because indeed we do have a plume of some monsoonal moisture that's heading up from the desert southwest, and that's going to be creating some conditions that could be favorable for showers and thunderstorms, possibly as early as today, but looking even more likely for Thursday and Friday,” she said.
Ironically, one of the reasons why the fair dates were moved to the earlier dates in August was to avoid the excessive rain and thunderstorms that have occurred in past years.
Kitzmiller said that fire officials have already sent out warnings about the dry hot weather and the precautions necessary to keep human-caused fires from starting.
“All of this extended period of hot and dry conditions has definitely started to dry things out around us,” she said. “I know a lot of local (state and national) forests have started to increase their fire danger to very high or even extreme in some cases, so things are definitely going to be getting more receptive to lightning and the potential fire starts from any lightning that occurs.”
The silver lining in the thunderstorm story is that the weather systems will contain a great deal of moisture.
“One good thing out of all this is that with this monsoonal moisture coming up it is exceptionally moist,” she said. “Fortunately, it does look like the stronger storms, those that develop should have quite a bit of rain with them. But that doesn't rule out lightning strikes that could occur away from thunderstorms and may lead to some fire activity. So, that’s something to keep in mind this week.”
The National Weather Service and all state and national forest fire officials urge extreme caution for those recreating this week.