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I've seen a lot of things in my day but the amount of smoke that filled the skies Tuesday was a first for me. At times visibility was down to 3/4 of a mile, something you would typically see with fog or snow. It was so dense you could even smell it. Usually the smoke is vertically integrated or more suspended aloft. That wasn't the case Tuesday as limited mixing allowed it to reach the surface. I took this image from my deck in East Dubuque. Below is the Mississippi and directly ahead is the city of Dubuque. Normally I can clearly see all the buildings downtown and several layers of bluffs in the distance. Smoke was definitely on the water...thank you Deep Purple 1972.

From space the smoke plume is clearly evident on the GOES hi-res visible satellite image.

As a result air quality was at very unhealthy standards in all of my region. Below is the EPA's 2:00pm air quality index for Davenport at a robust 216!

Air quality Alerts were out for all of Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and portions of other states.

These red spots are where active wildfires have been measured in the past week. The majority of the smoke in our region originated from extensive blazes in Ontario and a bit of Quebec, at a minimum 550 miles away.

You can see the streamlines near the surface carrying the smoke southeast out of Canada towards the Midwest and Great Lakes.

Wednesday and potentially Thursday will be additional days where conditions will remain ripe for additional wildfire smoke. Below is the HRRR near surface smoke product for 1:00pm Wednesday showing significant smoke concentrations again over the region.

Thursday morning still shows smoke but to a lesser degree.

While we are on the topic of unusual weather conditions, I tip my hat to Del Rio, Texas. Heat is a way of life there but the city took it to a new level recently. Starting June 18th record highs were established on 9 consecutive days, not a single day lower than 108. The 115 June 21st broke the previous daily record by 10 degrees and was the hottest temperature ever recorded in De Rio. Salute! P.S. I see Del Rio hit 110 today making this the 10th consecutive day with a record high....

Getting back to the weather at hand, the focus Wednesday will again be smoke and then rain chances that will be with us for several days. Wildfires in Canada are expected to reduced visibilities and bring hazy skies across the area Wednesday. Smoke and ozone concentrations will likely be hazardous, especially for sensitive groups and an air quality alert is in effect through the day. If you have respiratory issues it would be wise to limit prolonged outdoor activity today.

Additionally, the remnants of a convective complex will approach the region from the west early Wednesday. A shower or thunderstorm could catch my far western counties in the morning. However, models have consistently shown the rain decaying at it outruns its support and hits drier air. As a result, most areas will likely remain dry or see little in the way of rain. My western counties have the best chance of seeing a morning shower. Temperatures will range from the low 80s northeast to the mid to upper 80s elsewhere.

By Wednesday night we have transitioned into a ring of fire pattern which makes us vulnerable to additional showers and storms into Saturday. As a rule, these are often nocturnal and driven by the low level jet which increases after sunset. What we don't know precisely is where the firing grounds will set up and how they will move around over the 3 day hour period. Outflow boundaries from previous storms will play a big role but often those mesoscale details are not known until the first batch of storms departs. About all I can say with confidence is that some part of my area will be in the zone which currently favors the southern 1/2 to 2/3rds of my area. Wednesday night a round of storms is possible and from there we play it day by day with additional chances. I do want to stress that despite multiple rain threats there will be plenty of dry hours and rainfall amounts could vary significantly. If a specific area comes under an MCS, 2-3 inch rains would not be a shock in relatively narrow bands. Others could see little or no rain on either side of the primary band. WPC does show a marginal risk for excessive rain across my southern counties Friday or Friday night. That's a good indicator of where they think the ring of fire will be located at that time.

Here's what models are indicating for rainfall totals through Saturday.



The Weather Prediction Center's rainfall output.

The 12K NAM

By the way, here's the severe thunderstorm risk outlook from SPC the next two days



Overall, conditions the next few days look warm and progressively more humid. That should fuel scattered showers and storms. The challenge is fine tuning where and when, not an easy proposition. Stay tuned as emerging details are expected before each passing day into Sunday. Say hello to the ring of fire for the first time this year. Roll weather...TS




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