BOZEMAN – Update on the drought monitor over SW Montana shows “moderate” drought conditions beginning to develop into SW Montana.
The area of greatest concern this week is between Butte and Helena. Silver Bow, eastern Deer Lodge, southern Powell, Jefferson, Broadwater, and a small area in northern Madison County is now under moderate drought conditions.
Look for drought conditions to continue to worsen over SW Montana over the next several weeks to the next several months if the dry pattern persists.
There could be some minor short-term relief early next week. Some forecast models are projecting increasing showers and thunderstorms over SW Montana, and some could bring brief heavy rain. It’s too early to pinpoint where, but in general most of SW Montana could see a quarter to a half an inch of rainfall next week. This could change but right now the forecast is looking favorable for some moisture to return to the region.
The other bit of good news in the forecast is a cooler temperature pattern will also develop next week with temperatures falling closer to seasonal averages.
On the other hand, thunderstorms will also bring a chance for new wildfire starts locally. Thunderstorms could begin to develop Friday afternoon, but they should be mostly along the Idaho state line. Hit and miss rumbles could continue over the weekend with increasing showers and thunderstorms by early next week.