Air Quality

Bay Area Air Quality Improves, Thanks to Offshore System

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People in the Bay Area were likely breathing a litter easier Wednesday morning as air quality improved thanks to an offshore weather system pushing wildfire smoke out of the region.

Experts, however, continue to be leery of more smoke possibly entering the Bay Area. The one caveat, according to the National Weather Service, will be near the Dolan Fire in Big Sur, where southwest winds aloft will continue to push smoke towards Salinas, into the South Bay and portions of the East Bay.

But most of that smoke should remain aloft, the weather service said.

Kari’s Forecast: Warm with Blue Skies Meteorologist Kari Hall has an update on the improving air quality and a warm day ahead.

There was visibly less smoke and at times some blue sky in parts of the region Tuesday thanks to increased winds, and by Wednesday morning, air quality levels were in the green across most of the region.

The improving conditions Tuesday inspired Sue Sellers to take a bike ride in Campbell.

"Compared to last week, it’s so much better," she said. "Last week was just gruesome."

While air quality readings are inching closer to the green or "Good" range, Kaiser Permanente pulmonologist Dr. Thomas Dailey said the current conditions still pose a risk to people's health.

"So where a few days ago exercising outdoors would have been maybe the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, today exercising outdoors would be similar to smoking a half a pack of cigarettes a day," he said. "It’s still a problem."

Dailey said people shouldn't work out outdoors Tuesday and Wednesday, which will be the 30th consecutive Spare the Air alert day in the Bay Area.

"It compounds the issue that day after day after day we're exposed to this terrible air quality," he said. "These are particulates that get into our lungs and cause inflammation in our lungs. It tends to exacerbate preexisting lung conditions."

When air quality readings return to the "Good" range is when people can open their windows and go outside for extended periods of time, Dailey said.

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