Winter Air Quality Updates Home | Archived Winter Air Quality Updates | Today's Air

Winter Air Quality Update & Forecast
Friday, March 1, 2019 12:29 PM

Locations and Air Quality Conditions


Current Situation Forecast
Cold air is descending across Montana on Friday – leading to very cold temperatures and stable air in the valleys. Many valleys are experiencing fog and elevated pollution levels as inversions settle in. Air quality is UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in Seeley Lake and MODERATE in Libby, Frenchtown, Missoula, Hamilton, Butte, Helena, and Billings. Temperatures are in the single digits in many low elevation places and in the 20s along nearby ridgetops. As the arctic cold front moves through Montana, snow showers are spreading from eastern Montana into western Montana today. By tonight, expect widespread show showers and winds from the north. Temperatures will continue to fall throughout the day with highs on Saturday likely not getting above zero in most locations. Air quality will likely range between GOOD to MODERATE in most locations on Saturday. By Saturday night, clearing skies and light winds will cause temperatures to dip to some of the lowest values seen all season. The strong inversions expected Saturday night into Sunday will likely cause air quality to deteriorate across western Montana. On Sunday morning, air quality ranging from MODERATE to UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS is likely in many valleys.

The cold temperatures will persist on Monday and Tuesday. Winds will remain light over the area, with air quality impacts likely persisting. By Wednesday, we may see temperatures rebound across the area as warmer air moves in. Unfortunately, stable air, clear skies, and light winds may cause valley inversions to remain in place even while higher elevations enjoy the warmer weather. Prepare for the possibility that some western valleys may struggle with air quality impacts through most of next week.

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




Many areas are experiencing fog and air quality impacts today. Below, Whitefish Lake.  

Many areas are experiencing fog and air quality impacts today. Below, Whitefish Lake.
Source: Explore Whitefish

 
The windy conditions will be decreasing on Saturday, with light winds and clear skies expected by Sunday morning.

The windy conditions will be decreasing on Saturday, with light winds and clear skies expected by Sunday morning.
Source: Weather Underground

Brutally cold temperatures are expected by Sunday morning.

Brutally cold temperatures are expected by Sunday morning.

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  Seeley Lake
  Moderate

 Billings
Butte
Frenchtown
Hamilton
Helena
Libby
Missoula
 

  Good

 All other reporting stations. 

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