May 29, 2024
Temperatures were expected to dip into the 70s in the hottest spots of the region Friday.

A haze of brown and gray hovered above the East Bay portion of the Bay Area on Thursday as the sun rose over polluted, sometimes smelly air.

The good news was that by sundown, much of that haze and smoke was expected to dissipate, 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 the end of Thursday. The had earlier issued alerts Monday and Tuesday before declaring a Spare the Air alert, which includes a ban on wood burning, for Wednesday.

More clearing is on the horizon, according to Landis and weather forecasters. Northerly winds that helped funnel wildfire 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 numbers were expected to be better 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.