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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

07/07/15 Idaho DEQ Smoke Forecast

Updated 1030am MDT Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Air quality is forecast to remain in the Good to Moderate air quality category across the state, although short term readings will be higher in the Clearwater drainages and across the Idaho Panhandle from Benewah County north.  Conditions have improved across the state in comparison to yesterday’s data.  Currently there are no Air Quality Alerts issued by DEQ.

Northern Idaho is under a zonal (west-east) flow pattern aloft and will remain that way through the afternoon as an upper level trough and associated surface cold front arrive early Wednesday.  This upper level system will send minor disturbances our way across the state allowing for scattered thunderstorms to develop across the Panhandle.  This afternoon, surface winds will wrap around to be from the north-northwest at 2-8 mph while north of I-90, winds will contain a strong easterly flow component.  Southern Idaho is under a convergence zone aloft as an upper level low off the California Coast stalls and funnels monsoon moisture into the Snake River Plain.  Scattered, wet thunderstorms will develop across much of the Snake River Plain this afternoon across the southern section and into the Southern and Southeast Highlands.  Surface winds will be from the northwest across the Snake River Plain at 5-10 mph today.  Near thunderstorms, expect wind gusts up to 30 mph with erratic wind directions.  Similar conditions are expected through Wednesday as fire activity will decrease with higher humidity values and increased cloud cover.

Moderate smoke impacts are occurring across the Idaho Panhandle and through the Hells Canyon and Clearwater drainages.  This will continue in the afternoon and evening today as this smoke will track to the west this morning before turning to the east once more.  Light impacts will also occur in the Lower Snake and western Magic Valleys as smoke from fires burning in the Salmon River Mountains settles in overnight tonight.

View DEQ near-real time monitoring at:  http://airquality.deq.idaho.gov/

Smoke forecasts are dependent on predicted fire growth and weather.  If conditions change unexpectedly, impacts could occur.  When visibility starts to go below 5 miles, sensitive groups should minimize outdoor activities.  Everyone else should minimize prolonged or physical activity outdoors.  Refer to the Smoke and Health Tab on the Idaho Smoke Information Blog for additional health information. 

Your eyes are your best tools to determine if it’s safe to be outside.  Even if you smell smoke, the air quality may still be good. 

AQI Category
Visibility (miles)
Good
11+
Moderate
6-10
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
3-5
Unhealthy
1½  -2¾
Very Unhealthy
1-1¼ 
Hazardous
Less than 1