The National Weather Service is predicting strong thunderstorms to develop on Wednesday afternoon and to continue into Wednesday night.

Meteorologist Jeff Kitzmiller said the storms will begin to develop in the southern Bitterroot and move northward into the Missoula valley by about 6:00 p.m.

"Wind gusts will be common in the 40 mile per hour range, but we're really concerned about gusts reaching 50 or more," Kitzmiller said. "Today, we're expecting a high of about 88 degrees, but a cold front will accompany the storms and temperatures will be in the upper 60's tomorrow."

Kitzmiller said hail could be a factor in the coming system.

"Hail could definitely be a factor," he said. "A couple of these storms could have larger hail, getting closer to quarter-sized, but that's not as likely as the gusty winds."

Kitzmiller expects the storms to spread from the Bitterroot Mountains into Missoula and as far as the Mission and Flathead valleys. showers will continue through Thursday, but the biggest impact of the storms will be Wednesday afternoon and into the night.