Haze over Northwest Colorado is dust-related

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— The thick haze that settled over much of Northwest Colorado on Saturday isn’t smoke from wildfires burning in New Mexico and Utah, but rather dust that was picked up and thrown skyward by the strong winds moving through the region.

Matthew Aleksa, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Grand Junction forecast office, said a strong low-pressure system that moved through Nevada and into northern Utah before pushing its way toward Idaho overnight Saturday brought the strong and sustained winds that plagued much of Colorado, including Routt County, on Saturday. Those winds also blew dust into the sky, significantly reducing visibility in cities like Steamboat Springs.

Aleksa said smoke from wildfires in neighboring states could have contributed to the haze but that the primary cause is airborne dust.

The winds are expected to fade overnight Saturday into Sunday, which Aleksa said would lead to clearing skies and a reduction in the haze. However, the low-pressure system will result in cooler temperatures, with Sunday’s high expected to reach just 59 degrees. It will warm back up to 64 degrees for Memorial Day.

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