Hazy skies and MODERATE smoke impacts are still widespread across Montana today. Currently cumulative concentrations are MODERATE in Hamilton, Missoula, Great Falls, Flathead, and Broadus. The source of this smoke is from a number of different fires over the past few days. Smoke from California and Oregon has been lingering in a large, dispersed plume under a ridge of high pressure that is centered over Montana. In addition, the hot, dry conditions have caused wildfires in Idaho to flare up and send smoke into Montana. Lastly, there are fires in British Columbia that have sent smoke down into Eastern Montana. While some areas have seen air quality reach MODERATE levels, most of this smoke has stayed above ground level, resulting in hazy skies, but generally GOOD
The ridge of high pressure responsible for this smoke event will continue to impact the area for a little while longer. This evening, a disturbance is expected to move through the southern portion of the state. Precipitation will most likely fall in southwest Montana, causing an improvement in that area, but it may not be large enough to flush out all the smoke that has built up. On Thursday, a cold front is expected to pass through from west to east. This front will bring breezier conditions and somewhat unsettled weather. Smoke will likely improve at most, or all, locations by tomorrow night. The improvement may be short lived, however, as another ridge of high pressure will begin building in by Friday evening.
Expect concentrations to range from GOOD
to MODERATE in most locations today. Areas of southwest Montana may see improvement tonight as a wave of precipitation is expected. Other areas may have to wait until tomorrow to see improvement, when increased winds and precipitation will hopefully flush out the smoke.
Smoke continues to linger across Montana today from a number of sources that have accumulated over the past five days under a stagnant, stable air mass. Southwest Montana may see clearing this evening as a disturbance passes through. A cold front moving through on Thursday will likely improve air quality across the state by Friday morning. Another ridge of high pressure is expected to build in Friday evening, so the improvement may be short-lived.