Air-quality advisory in effect for Bay Area, but cleaner skies expected

Air-quality advisory in effect for Bay Area, but cleaner skies expected

A haze of brown and gray hovered above the East Bay portion of the Bay Area as the sun rose for the final time in August this year, and fresh air smelled non-existent.

In this case, however, it was not a tone-setter for the rest of Thursday, according to air quality officials.

“We’re seeing a difference in the amount of wildfire smoke,” Bay Area Air Quality Management District spokesperson Tina Landis said. “We’re really expecting to see improvement as the day goes on.”

An air quality advisory remained in effect through midnight, a day after the district issued a Spare the Air alert. Advisories were issued in two straight days leading up to the Spare the Air.

More clearing is on the horizon, according to Landis and weather forecasters. Northerly winds that helped funnel wild-fire smoke from vegetation fires burning in southern Oregon and far Northern California into the region are expected to shift into a more normal Bay Area pattern.

Air-quality index figures in the East Bay areas of central and eastern Contra Costa County peaked at 125, according to PurpleAir, a real-time air-quality measuring company. Figures between 101-125 means the air was unhealthy for those with breathing issues.

In the west part of the county and in Alameda County areas closer to the water, the air-quality index figures were between 51-100, meaning the air was moderately healthy. Santa Clara County generally had moderately healthy air, but figures in the Santa Clara Valley went above 100.

The air-quality index numbers were expected to be down Friday, Landis said. Weather forecasters said a trough in the upper atmosphere has begun to redirect the winds in their usual patterns and creating a thick marine layer that acts as a natural cooling and cleaning mechanism.

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Those winds will carry out whatever dirty air still remains in the region, forecasters said. The air quality forecast on Friday showed that the expectation of moderately healthy air throughout the region.

Temperatures also began to cool off, with the highest temperatures in the region expected to top out at 92 on Thursday and the mid-70s on Friday. Temperatures are not expected to rise past 85 degrees in any part of the region until Monday, when forecasters said the hottest spots could get to 90.