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Hazy day hints at monsoon ahead

Moisture makes the dust haze thicker
Posted at 4:32 PM, Jun 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-05 21:37:31-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - A lot of you were in the middle of a story Tuesday---an odd, hazy day that obscured the mountains.

That haze is a sign of a big change ahead.

For almost any perspective, our beautiful mountains were veiled behind a murky mask. It's mainly dust trapped by stagnant conditions.

It does not help that the tall mountain ranges that surround us basically trap the atmosphere like a box and sometimes you'll get a temperature inversion---a layer of cold air on top and that's really like putting a lid on things.
Chris Norris went up “A” Mountain for the view, but the usual view was gone.

“'I think it's dust but it looks thicker.  It looks just super hazy.  I've seen it before so I just kind of wonder sometimes."
It is thicker.  Beth Gorman from Pima County Environmental Quality says the effect comes from the fact there is more moisture in the air.

 'That combining with those little particles that are floating around causes the sunlight to be reflected from those particles and those particles also act like little sponges and they absorb that moisture and enlarge and so it's hard to see through them.  They obscure our mountain views."

That moisture is early warning of a big change ahead.  More water in the air sets the stage for monsoon---the best relief from long days of dust and drought.

Chris Norris says, “I love monsoon.  That's like my favorite time of the year.  I think all of us Tucsonans are that way too."

You can see the latest air quality at Pima County Department of Environmental Quality.