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Air quality worsened by wind-driven dust

Fri., Sept. 4, 2009

Air quality in the Spokane region entered the unhealthy range during the noon hour Thursday after wind gusts up to 35 mph kicked up a dust storm.

Devices atop the Spokane Regional Health District building measured 258 micrograms of dust per cubic meter of air.

The air quality reading was 177 micrograms from 1 to 2 p.m. and continued to drop as the storm eased in the afternoon, said Ron Edgar, of the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency.

“Good” air quality would contain 50 micrograms of dust per cubic meter of air, according to the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency Web site.

In North Idaho, the measuring device for dust and smoke in Pinehurst – the nearest pollution monitor to Coeur d’Alene – showed a peak hourly reading of 103 micrograms.

Edgar said the 24-hour air-quality average probably would be in the moderately polluted range as a result of the storm and not be considered a violation of air quality thresholds.

The cooler, windy weather brought a noticeable change from the high of 90 Wednesday at Spokane International Airport.

Summer will make a bit of a rebound today, with partly cloudy conditions and highs in the low 80s. Similar weather is in store for Saturday.

Showers and highs in the mid-60s are possible Sunday and Monday, with lows in the 40s both nights.

Light snow could fall on the region’s highest mountain peaks Sunday night, forecasters said.


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