Monday night's thunderstorms blew through Western Montana bringing hail to the Lolo and Florence area, strong winds to Kalispell and Evergreen and causing problems for firefighters battling a blaze near Phillipsburg.

Dan Zumpf with the National Weather Service office in Missoula said early Tuesday morning that this type of storm usually doesn't arrive until early summer.

"The storm system that blew through last night was one that we typically get in the early summer season," Zumpf said. "We had very strong winds mixed with thunderstorms and a little bit of hail mixed in, too. We had a lot of reports of power outages in Northwest Montana in Kalispell, with some pretty large mature trees going down. We also had some one-inch hail near the Florence-Lolo area in the Bitterroot, and in the Missoula valley there were some power outages because of downed power lines, as well."

Zumpf said winds were steady and strong throughout the storm.

"We had gusts from 45 to 60 miles per hour all the way from the Canadian border down through Western Montana," Zumpf said. "The strong winds also caused problems with some wildfires in the area. We understand there was a wildfire reported near Phillipsburg. It's awfully hard to fight a fire when the wind is blowing the rain sideways."

photo from

Forecaster Dan Zumpf, National Weather Service