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Strong thunderstorms are expected to sweep through south-central Montana Wednesday and Thursday, bringing the possibility of lightning, hail and strong winds to the Billings area.

The worst of the weather is likely to stay west of town, said meteorologist Nickolai Reimer with the National Weather Service office in Billings.

"Tomorrow we might have a better chance for (severe weather) here in the city, but still it looks like the main threat will be some hail and wind," Reimer said Wednesday morning.

Wednesday's storms are likely to hit in the early evening, possibly as early as 5 p.m., he said. Another round could come a couple hours later.

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The timing is expected to be similar on Thursday.

While some downpours are possible in localized areas, Reimer noted that overall precipitation isn't likely to cause significant flooding in the region.

"They might briefly put down some rainfall, but the amounts aren't going to be high enough and they're not going to be over a long enough period of time or over a large enough area to really affect any of the rivers," he said.

That's good news for residents along the Yellowstone River, which has remained at or near flood stage for much of the past week after heavy rain upstream added to already high-than-average spring snowmelt from the mountains.

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