Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The Missoula valley has been buffeted over the last few weeks with strong, gusty winds; so much so that I called Bob Nester, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service to ask about the effects the winds might have on potential wildfire risks, even this early in the fire season.

“There’s more wind than usual in the month of June, given the fact that we really have not had a lot of strong high-pressure ridges over us and we've had several systems move through, and when that happens we get a tightening gradient of pressure, and whenever you have a tightening gradient of pressure or even temperatures, winds will increase with that. So, given that fact, we've had a little bit more in the way of these weak systems moving through.”

Strong Winds Prompted a call to the National Weather Service

Nester then referenced the influence of the jet stream that usually flows above 30,000 feet.

“They talk about that river of the jet stream. It's kind of like a river of moisture, and that jet stream usually has some pretty good winds with it. Well, generally, by this time of year, the jet stream is a little bit further north into Canada, and we don't see as many systems move through with wind, so I guess that's one explanation of why we've had a little bit more wind than usual. In addition, we really haven't been very hot and we haven't even had a 90-degree day yet.”

Nester again referenced the jet stream and how it might affect upcoming weather in western Montana.

Nester Referenced how the Jet Stream in Building over the West

“We have a pretty strong high-pressure ridge right now building across the west coast of the U.S., and it's going to meander its way over across most of the west and give us a period of well above normal temperatures. We’ll see our first 90-degree day, probably on Friday or Saturday and that dry weather is going to persist through much the next week.”

Nester said western Montana has been fortunate so far with plenty of moisture.

READ MORE: MISSOULA WILDFIRE: LIGHTNING STRIKES LARGE PONDEROSA TREE

He said Fire Danger is 'Normal' but It Could Dry out Quickly

“Our fire season really doesn't get going in a lot of Western Montana until about the third week of July,” he said. “As far as large wildfires go, we're sitting at a point now where the fuels are not really receptive to lightning to start fires right now. As far as the big trees or even the little trees or brush, they're just not really receptive now. But usually in the summer, if we get a big, hot, dry system like this, it dries things out really quick.”

Our Dennis Bragg will follow up in the next few days with more on the coming hot weather.

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Gallery Credit: Ashley

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