Posted: Sep 19, 2012 8:33 AM by Meteorologist Mike Heard
Updated: Sep 19, 2012 9:30 AM
No relief in sight through the next 3 weeks. The Climate Prediction Center's 8 to 14 day forecast is calling for more of the same across Montana: below normal precipitation and above normal temperatures.
This weather pattern will keep skies smoky and air quality issues will continue through the remainder of September and possibly into early October and fire danger will remain high and no real drought relief in sight.
GFS computer models this morning is projecting a cut off low pressure system along the Washington coast to move inland and drop southward early next week. The projected storm path will take this system into northern California, northern Nevada and into southern Idaho. If we are lucky far southern areas of SW Montana could see some rain from this system Monday night into Tuesday morning of next week.
The next storm system on the GFS weather model develops around the 3rd of October. A deep trough forms from the Gulf of Alaska down along the west coast of the US. This will produce a strong SW flow aloft for Montana which in turn will likely keep temperatures above normal, however, several storms will drop down into the trough and roll into the pacific NW and hopefully swing into Montana after the 5th of October. This is not a guarantee, but right now it does look encouraging for possible moisture to move into western Montana and into Idaho which in turn should put a little water on top of the large complex fires. This data is subject to change before then.
I'll continue to monitor the long range forecast models over the next couple of weeks to keep you informed on when conditions will improve with regard to the smoke and drought.