Wildfire Smoke Makes Air Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
If you woke up on Monday and couldn’t see the mountains surrounding the Missoula valley, you can blame California and Oregon for the smoke and haze.
Meteorologist Joe Messina with the National Weather Service Office in Missoula provided details on the KGVO Montana Morning show.
“The fires are still burning in California,” said Messina. “Our upper level flow pattern is out of the southwest so that smoke is getting lofted up into the air and our upper level winds are carrying it from the southwest up here to western Montana and overhead are some hazy conditions out there.”
The air quality in Frenchtown tipped over into “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” at 8:00 a.m. When air quality is Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups, people with heart or lung disease, children and the elderly should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.
Messina said the smoke and haze will stick around for awhile here in western Montana.
“It looks like over the next couple of days it is going to stick around unfortunately,” he said. “Flows continue to come out of the Southwest. Now this ridge that's built up right now bringing the smoke this direction is going to flatten out a little bit our flow will shift to straight westerly towards the middle of the week.”
Messina said that particular weather pattern will actually help to eventually move the smoke out of the valley.
“That's going to help us out once we get into Wednesday, and maybe even Thursday, but I expected a mid to late week upper level flow shift towards the west, and hopefully that'll give us a little break from the smoky conditions that we're seeing right now,” he said.
In a press release on Monday, the Missoula City County Health Department stated: ‘The air quality in Frenchtown tipped over into “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” at 8:00 a.m. When air quality is Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups, people with heart or lung disease, children and the elderly should limit prolonged outdoor exertion. Anyone experiencing symptoms of heart or lung disease associated with smoke exposure should contact their health care provider.'