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In brief: High levels of dust recorded Sunday

During Sunday night’s storm, Spokane County recorded unhealthy levels of dust in the air.

The federal standard is 150 micrograms of particulates per cubic meter of air, averaged over 24 hours, according to the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency.

Sunday’s readings spiked at 304 micrograms during the storm and averaged 175 micrograms during the 24-hour period.

The dust was small enough to be inhaled. About nine of the dust particles would fit into a fine grain of sand.

Because dust storms are relatively common in the Inland Northwest, clean air agency officials encourage people with heart and lung problems to have a plan in place with their doctor, said Lisa Woodard, an agency spokeswoman.

Sunday’s air-quality problems shouldn’t affect Spokane County’s overall compliance with federal standards, Woodard said.

There are exemptions for uncontrolled natural events, such as dust storms, forest fires and volcanic eruptions.

Becky Kramer

Shooting prediction lacks merit, FBI says

Numbers crunched by a reporter for nationally circulated Atlantic magazine point to Spokane as a likely location for America’s next mass shooting. An area FBI agent says the study is without merit.

In the article, Philip Bump profiles the likely culprit of the next episode in which at least four people will be shot and killed in a public place, determining a 38-year-old white man will open fire in February 2014, killing seven people in Spokane with a gun purchased legally.

Frank Harrill, the FBI supervisory senior resident agent in Spokane, said the overly specific details in Bump’s analysis “takes it into the theater of the absurd.”

“I understand sort of the broad construct of what he’s trying to do,” Harrill said. “But I think it veers into something that is without validity.”

Bump said conducting statistical analysis enables more robust predictions, which in turn enables local law enforcement to remain vigilant in spying warning signs for future attacks.

But Harrill said such analysis merely points to a shooting occurring in a city with the same traits as Spokane.

Kip Hill


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