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Where are the mountains?! Dirt-filled skies invade Southern Colorado

What looks like wildfire smoke is actually dirt and dust
The state health department says that the air quality in Colorado Springs today is worse than any other city listed on its "Air Quality Index"
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 8:43 AM MDT|Updated: May. 9, 2022 at 9:22 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Yeah, we see it too. It’s gross. It looks like the wildfire smoke we’ve gotten accustomed to the past several summers ... but it’s mostly a bunch of dust and dirt being blown in from northwest New Mexico and the Great Sand Dunes National Park near Alamosa.

Below is what our Cheyenne Mountain and Banning Lewis Ranch cameras looked like Monday morning around 7:30 AM. You can see where dust meets blue skies, so it’s a fairly shallow layer of dust that’s unfortunately hitting us here at the ground too. This will lower the air quality, especially in Colorado Springs and near Pueblo -- don’t be surprised to feel a scratchy throat or have itchy eyes.

The weather pattern that’s driving the dust is a large, slow moving low pressure over the Pacific Northwest which is whipping up a ton of southwest winds. Southern Colorado is unfortunately right in the crosshair of it and we’re getting all this dust as a result. Unfortunately, weather data continues to indicate that this low won’t move much over the next couple days, leaving that strong southwest flow in place. We should see some of this junk clear up later in the week.

Above is a view from satellite which paints the picture of the evolving drought over the western United States. Marked on the map are the Navajo Nation Trust Land and Great Sand Dunes, which are the source of the dust and dirt. Anything that’s tan/light brown is indicative of the dust. Clouds and wildfire smoke in New Mexico are also marked.

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