The National Weather Service has issued a notice that severe thunderstorms could be hitting the area this weekend, with a slight chance predicted for this afternoon and a low to moderate chance in the forecast for Saturday afternoon.
The forecast, which includes north-central and central Montana, says the main threat would be from high wind gusts and hail, with hailstones potentially up to 1 inch in diameter.
The Weather Service alert says the main concerns stemming from the possible thunderstorms include high winds and lightning — important factors for those recreating or going to outdoor festivals, camping, hiking or with tents not tied down tightly at festivals.
Some damage is possible to structures, power lines or agricultural crops should damaging winds more than 58 mph or hail of 1 inch or greater develop.
Even a general thunderstorm, with wind gusts in the 40 mph to 50 mph range could cause impacts at outdoor activities.
This weekend’s weather also calls for hot, dry weather to move into the central to southwest region of the state, increasing the chance of fire danger from the Helena valley south as wind gusts up to 25 mph compound hotter weather with dropping humidity.