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Winter Air Quality Update & Forecast
Friday, February 5, 2016 11:39 AM

Locations and Air Quality Conditions


Current Situation Forecast
Air quality improved in all areas yesterday afternoon before particulate concentrations increased again in a few locations this morning. 24-hour average air quality is currently MODERATE in Seeley Lake, Libby, and Frenchtown. Air quality is GOOD at all other locations. The next system is expected to approach the area overnight tonight, bringing strong winds and good dispersion to western Montana throughout the day on Saturday. All areas are expected to have GOOD air quality beginning later this evening as winds pick up again across the state. Winds along the Divide and in eastern Montana will be especially gusty, prompting the National Weather Service to issue High Wind Watches for the eastern three quarters of the state.

Following the passage of this system, a strong ridge of high pressure will build over the western part of the U.S. This means stable, stagnant air and cold pools in western Montana valleys. At higher elevations, temperatures will be warm but winds are expected to be light and dispersion poor for most of next week. The valley inversions will likely lead to significant air quality impacts in many locations beginning Sunday and lingering through most of the week. There isn’t much to disrupt the stable conditions until the end of next week but it is too soon to tell what impact this will have on air quality.

Expect air quality ranging from MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in northwest Montana this afternoon before increasing winds improve air quality this evening. Air quality is expected to remain GOOD on Saturday as a brisk disturbance moves across the state. Beginning Sunday, and lasting through the week, air quality is expected to range between MODERATE and UNHEALTHY in many western Montana valleys due to persistent stagnant conditions.

Kristen Martin
State Air Quality Meteorologist
Air Resource Management Bureau
Montana Department of Environmental Quality
Phone: (406) 444-0283
Email: kmartin@mt.gov




The webcam in Condon, MT shows low clouds but clear air at ground level.  

The webcam in Condon, MT shows low clouds but clear air at ground level.
Source: Weather Underground

 
Clouds are starting to clear in some parts of western Montana today, as a brief period of stable air moves in before another disturbance impacts the areas this evening.

Clouds are starting to clear in some parts of western Montana today, as a brief period of stable air moves in before another disturbance impacts the areas this evening.
Source: NWS

Marginal to good ventilation is expected today in most areas.

Marginal to good ventilation is expected today in most areas.

Source: University of Washington 

Strong winds are expected in all of Montana by tomorrow morning.

Strong winds are expected in all of Montana by tomorrow morning.
Source: Weather Underground

Real time particulate information is currently available in most of the larger urban areas from MDEQ's Today's Air website.

Today's particulate report below compares particulate levels received from DEQ's
reporting stations with MDEQ’s wildfire health advisory levels.

Locations and severity of PM 2.5 particulate values since midnight of the date above.
Health Effects Categories City
  Hazardous  
  Very Unhealthy  
  Unhealthy  
  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  
  Moderate

 Libby
Frenchtown
Seeley Lake
 

  Good

 All other reporting locations. 

B1(x) One-hour BAM value (number of values)
B8(x) Eight-hour average BAM
B24 24 hour  average BAM value