A mammatus cloud passed over the KSEN/K96 studios in Shelby about an hour ago. That's a cloud with what I would describe as a "bubbly texture" on the bottom. (I'm told whoever came up with the name "mammatus" thought the bumps looked like cows' utters.) Mammatus clouds are often seen with thunderstorms, and indeed, our forecast for North Central Montana today does include the possibility of thunderstorms, and possibly even some hail.

UPDATE 12:45pm: The following Montana counties are now under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch until 8:00pm:

BLAINE               CASCADE             CHOUTEAU
FERGUS               GLACIER             GOLDEN VALLEY
HILL                 JUDITH BASIN        LIBERTY
PONDERA              TETON               TOOLE

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means conditions are right for the formation of strong to severe thunderstorm activity. Should a Severe Thunderstorm develop in our immediate vicinity, it will trigger an EAS (Emergency Alert System) notification on KSEN and/or KZIN-fm.

The following information - and the hail-threat graphic above - are from the National Weather Service forecasters in Great Falls:

Scattered strong to severe thunderstorms are expected across most of North-central and Central Montana. Temperatures across North-central, Central, and Southwestern Montana will warm up to above average on Sunday.

  • Scattered strong to severe storms are expected across North-central and Central Montana this afternoon and evening.
  • Large hail 2 inches (Lime-sized) or larger and wind gusts up to 60 mph are possible with the strongest storms.
  • A warming trend is expected for this weekend with the hottest temperatures on Sunday.
The Storm Prediction Center has upgraded the Severe Weather Outlook to Slight risk across North-central and Central Montana. Confidence has increased across North-central and Central Montana for severe thunderstorms this afternoon.
  • Strong to Severe Thunderstorms across North-central and Central Montana this afternoon and evening
    • Timing:
      • Showers and thunderstorms continue to develop through this morning.
      • Scattered strong to severe thunderstorms are likely to develop this afternoon.
      • Move away from the region/diminishing late this evening.
    • Threats:
      • Hail 2 inches (Lime -sized) or larger
      • Wind gusts up to 60 mph
      • Very low isolated risk (5% or less within 25 miles of a point) for a tornado
  • Hot temperatures Sunday
    • Daytime highs into the 90s are forecast for Sunday across most low elevation areas.
    • This level of heat affects those individuals sensitive to heat, and especially those without effective cooling or adequate hydration.
For the latest forecast updates, visit weather.gov/greatfalls.

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