Less than 12 hours after the Gallatin Valley was drenched with good rain showers, we're back to Air Quality Index numbers in the 120s and 130s. Ugh. Monday afternoon and night were soggy, quite frankly...and now this?

By mid-day on Tuesday the Bozeman area was hazy and humid with an AQI that is "unhealthy for sensitive groups". Livingston, Ennis, Big Sky and Big Timber are all experiencing AQIs in the 120s.

Certain areas around Thompson Falls and Kalispell have AQI numbers in the 160s and 170s. REALLY not good. AQI numbers seemed to be a bit better in Montana the further south you go.

Although AQI numbers can change drastically in just a few hours, here's where locations stand as of 2pm Tuesday 8/3:

  • Kalispell (11 Street West): AQI = 163
  • Libby: AQI = 195
  • Flathead Lake: AQI = 165
  • Seeley Lake: AQI = 164
  • Anaconda (north of town): AQI = 159
  • Bozeman: AQI = 138
  • Livingston: AQI = 133
  • Billings: AQI = 122

All of western Montana has an Air Quality Alert in effect until Wednesday morning. According to the National Weather Service:

  • AIR QUALITY ALERT IN EFFECT until 9:15am Wednesday 8/4:
  • WHERE: for Broadwater, Deer Lodge, Flathead, Gallatin, Glacier, Granite, Jefferson, Lake, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Mineral, Missoula, Pondera, Powell, Ravalli, Sanders, Silver Bow, and Teton counties in effect until further notice.
  • As of 9 AM Tuesday, particulate levels in Libby and Thompson Falls are Unhealthy
  • As of 9 AM, particulate levels in Bozeman, Cut Bank, Great Falls, Hamilton, Missoula, and Seeley Lake are Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.
  • As of 9 AM Tuesday, particulate levels in Billings, Birney, Broadus, Butte, Dillon, Frenchtown, Helena, Lewistown, Malta are Moderate.
chart - DEQ

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.