Air quality advisory issued for Matanuska Valley

Tegan Hanlon

The risk of strong winds blowing dust and silt in the Matanuska Valley triggered an air quality advisory in effect from noon Tuesday until the weather subsides.

Increasing winds may drive the air quality to become "unhealthy to hazardous," said a statement from Eileen Probasco, planning director with the Matanuska-Sustina Borough.

Probasco advised the elderly, children and anyone with heart or lung disease to stay indoors and reduce physical activity.

Wind gusts between 5 and 15 mph had already begun blowing in the Matanuska Valley by Tuesday afternoon, said Dave Stricklen, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

But forecasters don't expect winds to pick up across southern Alaska until Thursday night or Friday, he said. The shift in the weather pattern will also filter colder air into the region.

"I think we're looking at the valley being hit the hardest," Stricklen said.

He said its too soon to forecast just how strong the winds will be.

Probasco said the pattern could stick around well into next week. The dryness of the air coupled with strong winds has heightened fire weather concerns through the Matanuska Valley, she said.

Reach Tegan Hanlon at or 257-4589.