Heat wave to bring near-record high temps
The hottest temperatures of the summer are on tap for this week.
A strong high pressure system is expected to set up over the West beginning today, ushering in near-record high temperatures for Northwest Montana.
High temperatures in Kalispell are anticipated to peak in the upper 90s late in the work week, and could approach triple digits in some valley locations. In general, thermometer readings will be 5 to 10 degrees above normal this week.
Alex Lukinbeal, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Missoula, said high temperatures Thursday will approach record-breaking levels. The record high for Kalispell on Aug. 9 is 98. Forecast models show temperatures that day hitting 96.
Lukinbeal noted that wildfire smoke from California and Oregon could limit daytime heating in Western Montana, keeping temperatures just below the record mark.
“If we get really thick smoke, it will limit the heating at the surface,” he said. “That could keep it three to four degrees cooler.”
Widespread haze is anticipated through Friday. Lukinbeal said there is no chance of precipitation this week.
Some of the highest temperatures in the state are expected east of the Continental Divide. On Friday in Havre it could hit 104, while Great Falls will likely reach 102. Both would be new record highs for the day.
Heat exhaustion during outdoor activities is possible this week, the National Weather Service is warning. People are also reminded to check their backseat before locking a vehicle, and to never leave a child or pet inside a vehicle.
Relief from the heat is possible next weekend following the passage of a cold front that will break down the high pressure. High temperatures Saturday are expected to be in the low 80s and a few showers are possible across Northwest Montana.