Air quality advisory issued for Anchorage, Eagle River

Devin Kelly

A combination of snowmelt, road sanding and cold, dry conditions in Anchorage and Eagle River prompted an air quality advisory from health officials Thursday.

Concentrations of airborne particles are "approaching unhealthful levels," according to the Anchorage Department of Health and Human Services. Recent snowmelt and road sanding has left sediments on road surfaces, and those surfaces are now drying out.

"As the road surfaces dry, the fine particles in these sediments are easily stirred up by traffic and become airborne," according to a Health Dept. advisory. "Dusty conditions are expected as long as cold night-time temperatures and dry weather persists."

Dust is most likely to be kicked up along major roadways during peak traffic hours, the department said.

Officials advised anyone with heart and lung ailments, such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema, to avoid dusty areas near major traffic thoroughfares whenever possible. Those with severe lung diseases should stay indoors.

Hourly updates of air quality data in Anchorage, Eagle River and Mat-Su are available on the Alaska Air Monitoring Network, accessible through the Anchorage Air Quality program website at Updates can also be obtained by calling the Air Quality Hotline at 343-4899.

Reach Devin Kelly at or 257-4314.