ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Haze in Albuquerque made the Sandia Mountains difficult to see on Wednesday morning. Cloud cover has drawn in wildfire smoke in the area creating hazy conditions. The clouds will continue to push north and northeast throughout the morning in the Rio Grande Valley.
The City of Albuquerque issued a Health Alert due to elevated particulate levels from 9:10 a.m. to Noon Wednesday. Those with respiratory conditions in the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County should limit outdoor activity.
According to the City, the particles in the air this morning are likely a combination of dust and smoke. Computer forecast models did predict light concentrations of smoke over Albuquerque this morning, but not enough to account for the particulate levels that monitors are currently detecting. Furthermore, the ratio of coarse particulates to fine particulates is more reflective of dust than smoke. It’s possible that a dust storm may have occurred late yesterday or overnight somewhere upwind of Albuquerque.
Albuquerque has seen these kind of events before and it can be difficult to distinguish between dust and smoke based on sight alone. Without strong winds, it seems counter-intuitive that it could be dust. However, microburst winds can lift dust high into the air and the smaller dust particles can travel long distances before settling.
People who are at higher risk for respiratory issues from particulates are also more susceptible to infection and severe health consequences from COVID-19. Exposure to particulates can aggravate severity of COVID-19 symptoms, and infection with COVID-19 can increase health impacts from particulate exposure. The risk of COVID-19 transmission remains very high, and people who are vulnerable should remain at home whenever possible, especially when elevated particulate levels are present. To learn more about particulates and COVID-19 visit