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Winter Air Quality Update & Forecast
Tuesday, February 19, 2019 10:24 AM

Locations and Air Quality Conditions


Current Situation Forecast
Air quality is MODERATE in most western valleys on Tuesday morning due to inversions currently in place. These inversions are not super strong, with the valleys being around 10 degrees colder than the nearby ridgetops. Currently air quality is MODERATE in Libby, Columbia Falls, Thompson Falls, Seeley Lake, Frenchtown, Missoula, Hamilton, Dillon, Butte, Helena, Great Falls, Malta, and Billings. The good news (at least from an air quality perspective) is that these impacts are not expected to last long, especially for valleys close to the Continental Divide. Increased winds are expected to move into the area later this afternoon, helping to clear out the valleys. Parts of Northwest Montana, down through Missoula may struggle until later tonight to break out from under the inversions. By tonight, yet another storm system will move in, bringing light snow showers to the region. The trough of low pressure bringing this storm system will remain over the region through Thursday, with a prolonged chance of snow showers. Overall, air quality should be generally good once/if the inversions break today, with brief periods of MODERATE air quality through Thursday afternoon.

A brief lull in active weather on Thursday night into Friday could cause overnight inversions to return to many western valleys. More widespread MODERATE impacts are possible Friday morning. As has been the case for the past few weeks, these impacts will likely be brief with another weather system expected for the weekend. Overall, this cold, snowy and occasionally windy pattern is expected to bring generally GOOD air quality, with brief periods of MODERATE air quality in between weather systems. It looks like we will be under this pattern for the foreseeable future.

Air Quality Bureau
Montana Department of Environmental Quality
Phone: (406) 444-3490
Email: DEQMTSmoke@mt.gov




Low clouds and moderate air quality is the norm in western Montana today.  

Low clouds and moderate air quality is the norm in western Montana today.
Source: Weather Underground

 
Strong winds are expected east of the Divide today.

Strong winds are expected east of the Divide today.
Source: Weather Underground

More snow is on the way for Wednesday across western Montana.

More snow is on the way for Wednesday across western Montana.

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

 Libby
Columbia Falls
Thompson Falls
Seeley Lake
Frenchtown
Missoula
Hamilton
Dillon
Butte
Helena
Great Falls
Malta
Billings
 

  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