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Smoke sinking to surface will affect weekend air quality

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Temperatures topped out in the mid to upper 70s in the Chippewa Valley Friday afternoon, and dew points ranged from the upper 50s to low 60s. So, it was still a bit humid despite the cooler temps.

Cloud cover was at the partly cloudy level most of the day, but the sky looked cloudy because of our continued smoke cover from the Canadian wildfires.

Friday afternoon's air quality in Western Wisconsin was in the yellow and orange categories, meaning that the air is unhealthy for those with heart/lung diseases and other disorders. Those sensitive groups along with children and older adults should limit outdoor activities.

This has prompted the Wisconsin DNR to issue an Air Quality Alert for all of Wisconsin from Friday through Tuesday afternoons. The Minnesota DNR has issued the same alert for all of Minnesota.

At times, air quality will get even worse and drop into the red "unhealthy for all people" and possibly even the purple "very unhealthy for all" categories. Near surface smoke will increase Saturday and be at high levels.

Although the forecast shows some relief near the surface by midday Sunday, more smoke is moving into the Dakotas and that will head our way Sunday evening through early next week.

The other threat this weekend is a small chance for severe storms Saturday. A level 1 risk is in effect for the Chippewa Valley and east as a cold front brings some scattered thunderstorms through Saturday. The chance for rain is not for everyone as the storms will have space between them.

Plus, only a few of the storms will become strong to possibly severe. After those storms pass, temps and humidity drop for Sunday, though again the air quality is still going to be quite elevated. Temps slowly rise through the first week of August and humidity will return midweek.

Matt Schaefer

Matt Schaefer was promoted to Chief Meteorologist in July of 2019 and has been our evening meteorologist for News 18 since June of 2016. Prior to that, he was our Saturday meteorologist starting in September 2014.

Matt was born and raised in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He enjoys all the extremes that mother nature throws at the Badger State: from severe thunderstorms to blizzards to subzero temperatures.

Matt studied meteorology in the Midwest as well, earning his Bachelor’s of Science in Meteorology at Valparaiso University in Indiana. There, Matt was heavily involved in VUTV Weather, the Valpo student chapter of AMS/NWA, and VUSIT (Valparaiso University Storm Intercept Team). He’s logged more than 20,000 miles chasing and studying severe storms all across the country and witnessed nine tornadoes including six in one day!

Matt describes himself as a Wisconsin boy at heart and enjoys cheering for the Packers, Brewers, Badgers, and Admirals just to name a few. He loves simply being outdoors and enjoys the Wisconsin wilderness especially in fall, and whitetail deer season!

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