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More rain, less hail in weekend forecast
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More rain, less hail in weekend forecast

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Weather systems that were expected over the weekend to produce thunderstorms, wind, hail and even the possibility of a tornado may not be as severe, according to the National Weather Service in Billings.  

Scattered and severe thunderstorms were expected Friday afternoon in Eastern Montana towns like Ekalaka and Broadus, but by Friday night, not very many storms had developed, said meteorologist Dan Borsum.

By about 8 p.m. Friday, the storms that did form in the region weren't severe, and hazardous weather isn't expected for the rest of the night in southeastern and south-central Montana, Borsum said.

Storms producing up to dime-sized hail were seen in areas around Great Falls and Helena Friday evening, Borsum said.

"Expect a set up where we will see active weather the next few days, but how strong the storms will be is not certain," Borsum said.

NWS issued a hazardous weather outlook for Eastern Montana earlier Friday that warned of severe storm possibilities. Storms were expected to produce golf ball-sized hail and wind gusts from 60 to 80 mph on Friday, while Saturday was predicted to see baseball-sized hail and wind gusts from 60 to 80 mph.

The more severe storms included a low chance of a tornado farther east, but Borsum said that any chance of one forming would be in Carter and Fallon counties, and most likely in North Dakota and South Dakota.

But travelers should keep in mind that storms could get severe throughout the weekend, Borsum said. Widespread significant weather wasn't expected as of Friday night.

Storms are more likely to produce more rain than hail and wind throughout Saturday and Sunday because the storm systems developing in the area have to compete for energy under widespread cloud cover, Borsum said.

Billings could get up to a quarter-inch to half of an inch of rainfall over the weekend.

Flash flooding won't likely occur from the rainfall, Borsum said, but areas of the Carbon County were under a flood advisory for the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River at Belfry and Edgar. Higher temperatures will continue to melt high mountain snowpack, and could keep river levels near flood stage throughout the weekend.

Saturday will see a high of 88 degrees.

On Monday flooding on the Clarks Fork at Edgar hit a record-high crest reaching 9.4 feet. The previous record of 9.3 feet was set June 12, 1997.

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