Updated 10am MDT Thursday, August 4, 2016
Valid through Noon MDT Friday, August 5, 2016
Air quality is forecast to continue to remain in the Good to Moderate air quality category across the state today. Impacts are less substantial today with Pocatello, Franklin, Idaho City and Boise the only locations in south Idaho with currently- elevated monitors reading in the Moderate Category. In north Idaho, monitor readings are currently in the Moderate category in the Reubens area. Expect higher readings in the evening and early morning before improving during the day.
An upper level shortwave ridge will develop today prior to the approach and influence of an upper level disturbance which will enter the area late tonight and into Friday. Expect winds to be light and variable in direction today; however, an northeast to east flow will develop when speeds are above 5 mph or so. Surface wind speeds will range from 2-8 mph across north Idaho and 5-10 mph across south Idaho. Mixing heights will range from 2,000-6,000 feet AGL in the afternoon with transport winds from the southwest to southeast at 5-10 mph. On Friday, an upper level lower pressure system will approach from the west while a mid-level system will move in from northern California which will bring monsoon moisture and general instability into Idaho. Wind speeds will be in the 5-10 mph range, with variable direction across the state. Wind directions at higher speeds will be primarily from the southeast to southwest with northeast winds in north Idaho. Mixing heights will range from 2,000-10,000 feet AGL in the afternoon tomorrow.
Smoke impacts today are expected to be minimal with the cooler temperatures and lighter wind speeds. Brief periods of heavy, localized smoke should be expected in the morning before the inversion lifts around 11am-12noon today. The regions that may see smoke this evening include the Upper Snake River Plain to the Island Park area and the Upper Treasure Valley. Due to lighter wind speeds, transport of smoke is expected to be limited to areas near fires on Friday.
DEQ Air Quality Advisories:
· The Twin Falls Regional Office has issued a Stage 1 Forecast and Caution for Blaine County. Valid through 1pm August 3rd.
· The Lewiston Regional Office has issued a Stage 1 Forecast and Caution for Latah County (off the Nez Perce Reservation). Valid through 10 am August 3rd.
View real time smoke monitoring at: http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=topics.smoke_wildfires
View DEQ near-real time monitoring at: http://airquality.deq.idaho.gov/
The USFS installed monitors near Stanley, Idaho and Lowman, Idaho. The information can be found at http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/smoke.pl
• Stanley, ID monitor is Smoke #217
• Lowman, ID monitor is Smoke #66
• Users should be aware that the Forest Service site reports the data in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). To convert from UTC to Mountain Daylight Time, subtract 6 hours.
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. Visit the Idaho Smoke Blog for more information at http://idsmoke.blogspot.com/
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.
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Less than 1
How to estimate air quality based on visibility for areas without an air quality monitor or airport visibility estimate:
a. Face away from the sun.
b. Determine the limit of your visible range by looking for targets at known distances (miles).
c. Visible range is when an object you can easily see in the distance disappears.
d. Use the visibility values above to determine the local wildfire smoke category.