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Winter Air Quality Update & Forecast
Tuesday, February 28, 2017 11:26 AM

Locations and Air Quality Conditions


Current Situation Forecast
Air quality is GOOD in most locations today as unsettled weather continues to impact the region. We are seeing some MODERATE air quality impacts in Seeley Lake and Helena, where a lull in activity caused light winds this morning, trapping pollution near the surface.

Air quality has been GOOD each afternoon over the past week as frequent snow showers and strong winds have dominated the weather. We have seen occasional MODERATE impacts during the overnight period, especially in Seeley Lake. These impacts have been short lived each day, improving by mid-afternoon.
The air quality impacts seen this morning are expected to be short lived as the next round of unsettled weather moves into Montana. Snow showers are possible in many locations today, with the showers becoming more widespread this evening. Winds are also expected to pick up later today, with gusts higher than 20mph expected in many locations by this evening. This should create a period of GOOD dispersion and air quality in all locations. The strong winds are expected to continue through Wednesday, with air quality expected to remain GOOD in most locations. Snow showers are likely throughout this period.

On Thursday, a brief period of stable air under a ridge may cause air quality impacts to return in some valleys in the morning. These impacts are not expected to last long, with another round of strong winds expected on Friday and throughout the weekend. Overall, it looks like we will see GOOD air quality in most locations through early next week, with short-lived MODERATE impacts in some valleys.

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




In Polson the view is typical for western Montana today, where scattered snow showers are moving into the state.  

In Polson the view is typical for western Montana today, where scattered snow showers are moving into the state.
Source: KTVQ

 
Cloud cover ranges from overcast to scattered in western Montana today.

Cloud cover ranges from overcast to scattered in western Montana today.
Source: NWS

Ventilation is expected to be good this afternoon in western Montana.

Ventilation is expected to be good this afternoon in western Montana.

Source: University of Washington 

Windy conditions will likely be the story beginning tonight.

Windy conditions will likely be the story beginning tonight.
Source: Weather Underground

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

Today's particulate report below compares particulate levels received from DEQ's
reporting stations with MTDEQ’s Health Effect Categories.

Locations and severity of PM 2.5 particulate values over the past 24 hours from the time above.
Health Effects Categories City
  Hazardous  
  Very Unhealthy  
  Unhealthy  
  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups  
  Moderate

 Seeley Lake
Helena
 

  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