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Updated: Yesterday's dust storm air quality data

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Update: Wednesday, October 3, 2018: Yesterday's dust storm resulted in a maximum 24-hour average PM10 (Particulate Matter 10 microns in diameter and smaller) of 171.9 micrograms/cubic meter of air. This is over the health-based standard of 150 micrograms/cubic meter of air or 100 on the Air Quality Index (AQI). This 171.9 concentration equates to a daily AQI of 109/Unhealthy for sensitive groups.

The peak one-hour concentration on Tuesday was 891 micrograms/cubic meter of air, which occurred at 5 p.m.

The chart below illustrates how a dust storm can cause a significant, short-term "spike" in our air quality. The screen shot is hourly PM10 concentrations from our Augusta/Fiske monitoring location:

 

As of 4:35 pm, Tuesday, October 2, 2018: Spokane's air quality is unhealthy/red on the Air Quality Index (AQI), due to blowing dust coming mainly from the Columbia Basin area. The winds are expected to taper off late this evening.

Meanwhile, here are some tips from the Washington State Department of Ecology:

OLYMPIA – It’s dust storm season when wind speeds pick up and the air can turn gritty with dirt particles from dry farming areas, construction sites, and unpaved roads. When inhaled, dust particles settle deeply into lungs and can irritate or damage sensitive tissues in the respiratory system. People with respiratory illnesses, the elderly, young children, pregnant women, and anyone engaged in strenuous physical activity outdoors are most at risk.

After a windstorm, fine dust remains suspended in the air or is kicked up by vehicles. In some low-lying areas where the air is stagnant, particles may settle out of the air slowly. Sensitive people who want to prepare for dust storms should pay attention to local weather forecasts and check with their doctors. Drive more slowly to reduce airborne dust and postpone projects at home that stir up dust when conditions are dusty.

Here’s how you can protect yourself and your family during a dust storm:

Construction project managers can take a variety of steps to control dust stirred up at work sites. Control measures include:

 

3104 E Augusta Ave, Spokane, WA 99207 · (509) 477-4727 · working with you for clean air

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