High winds kick up un-healthy dust in Eastern Washington - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

High winds kick up un-healthy dust in Eastern Washington

OLYMPIA, Wash. - High winds today across all of Eastern Washington may cause dust storms that could harm the health of local residents who breathe the dust.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a high wind warning that lasts until 11 p.m. today. The NWS predicts southwest winds 35 to 40 miles per hour and gusts to 60 mph are possible.

Winds stir up dust particles, which can be inhaled deeply into lungs. Dust particles 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.

Here's how you can protect yourself during a dust storm:

• Stay indoors as much as possible.

• Wear a mask designed to block small particles.

• Watch for sudden changes in visibility while driving.

• Avoid driving during windy conditions when windblown dust is likely.

• Turn on headlights as a safety precaution.

After the wind stops blowing, fine dust can remain suspended in the air as traffic grinds up dust deposited from the storm. In some low-lying areas, the air can become "stagnant," and particles may settle out of the air slowly. Sensitive people who wish to be prepared for dust storms should pay attention to local weather forecasts.

Residents can help reduce airborne dust by driving slower on unpaved roads and by postponing projects at home that stir up dust

Dust control is required for all construction projects. Control measures include clearing no more land than necessary, working in phases to minimize the amount of exposed land area, using a commercial dust suppressant to replace or reduce the use of water, covering bare ground with gravel, and curtailing activities on windy days.

For more information, contact Ecology's Eastern Regional Office in Spokane, 509-329-3574; Ecology's Central Regional Office in Yakima, 509-454-4193; or your local air quality agency:

• In Spokane County, call the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency at 509-477-4727.

• In Benton County, call the Benton Clean Air Agency at 509-783-1304.

• In Yakima County, call the Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency at 509-834-2050.

     

 

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