NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Monday morning is very smoky across the northern half of New Mexico. Air quality is unhealthy for everyone in Albuquerque. It’s also unhealthy for sensitive groups in parts of the northern mountains in Santa Fe and most of northern New Mexico. The air quality is good to moderate in southern New Mexico. The haze will start to lighten this afternoon, and Tuesday will be much clearer thanks to southerly winds that will push most of the smoke out of the state.
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Southerly wind flow will draw more moisture into New Mexico after a very dry Sunday. Showers and storms will be possible south of I-40 and in the western mountains Monday afternoon and evening. By Tuesday, the moisture will draw further north, bringing rain chances back to the metro and northern New Mexico. Temperatures will be very hot again today, but they will start to drop tomorrow through the weekend.
If it is smoky outside find out how far you can see. First, decide if the visibility is closer to 5 miles, 3 miles or 1 mile. pick a landmark you are familiar with and see if you can see it. Facing away from the sun, look for landmarks such as mountains, mesas, hills, or buildings in those mile ranges to help you estimate visibility. If these objects are not easy to see in these mile ranges, then decide:
Is the visibility under 5 miles? If you can see less than 5 miles, the air quality is unhealthy for young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness; they should minimize outdoor activity. These people should reschedule outdoor recreational activities for a day with better air quality. It is okay for adults in good health to be out and about but they should periodically check visibility especially when fires are nearby.
Is the visibility just about 3 miles? Young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness should avoid all outdoor activities. These people should stay indoors. All outdoor activities should be avoided, including running errands. Everyone else should try to stay indoors as much as possible. All outdoor recreational activities should be rescheduled for a day with better air quality.
Is the visibility about 1 mile? If you can see less than 1 mile that means the air quality is unhealthy for everyone. People should remain indoors and avoid all outdoor activities including running errands. Unless an evacuation has been issued, stay inside your home, indoor workplace, or in a safe shelter.
Regardless of the visibility, if you are feeling as though you are having health effects from smoke, take precautions to avoid exposure to smoke and see your doctor or health professional as needed.
Since the southwest United States typically has very low humidity, visibility can be an effective tool to determine if it is healthy to be outside when smoke is present. The visibility test is not appropriate or effective in areas with high humidity, such as the southeastern United States, where water vapor (fog) may limit visibility.
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