Powerful winds will begin whipping north from Nye through Judith Gap this afternoon, creating potential hazards for motorists traveling along Interstate 90 and prompting red flag warnings farther north, according to the National Weather Service.
While Yellowstone County will be spared the worst of the gusty weather, sustained winds above 20 miles per hour are expected this afternoon and evening. In response, the county's emergency services director Tuesday morning issued a statement that open burning will not be allowed until Wednesday.
Wind gusts in excess of 60 miles per hour are forecast for Nye, Livingston and Harlowton this afternoon and tonight. Gusts as high as 58 miles per hour are expected in Judith Gap and Big Timber, while wind speeds 30 miles per hour or more are forecast for Columbus, Red Lodge and Gardiner.
Gusty conditions are also expected in Billings, where the temperature is forecast to reach 77 degrees under sunny skies today, according to the Weather Service.
A broader high wind warning is in effect for north-central Montana east of the Continental Divide through this evening.
The Weather Service has also issued a red flag warning, from 11 a.m. through 7 p.m., for Blaine, Hill, Liberty and Toole counties, along with portions of Glacier and Pondera counties.