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Air quality ‘unhealthy’

But conditions should improve beginning today

Posted: July 10, 2008 12:28 a.m.
Updated: September 10, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Another day in July in the Santa Clarita Valley means another day we can see the air we breathe.

Temperature-wise however, the heat wave that was reportedly knocking on Santa Clarita’s door apparently was nowhere to be found when the door was opened.

“The air is stagnant and the pressure holds the air close to the ground, which is why you see the hazy air,” said Kent Field, spokesman for the Air Pollution Control District in Ventura. “It’s not so much the heat, it’s certain weather patterns.”

Wednesday’s air quality for the Santa Clarita Valley was listed as “unhealthy” by the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

The air quality is expected to improve today, as the air quality district upgraded its forecast to “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”

Officials advise anyone in the Santa Clarita Valley with heart disease, asthma or other respiratory disease to minimize outdoor activities throughout the day.

Also, children with sensitive conditions attending school or a summer camp today should not participate in any outdoor physical activity and are urged to stay indoors as much as possible. Sensitive conditions include heart disease, asthma, other chronic respiratory diseases, according to the county Department of Public Health.

The Air Quality Index rating, which is used by the air quality management district to forecast air quality, was at 154 Wednesday, the sixth worst in Southern California. Only Riverside, Lake Elsinore, the San Bernardino Valley and the central San Bernardino Mountains had worse air quality. The AQI was expected to reach 145 today. Locations posting an AQI rating of 151 or higher are designated “unhealthy,” while locations with a rating between 101 and 150 are designated “unhealthy for sensitive groups.” Areas with an AQI rating of 201 or more are designated “very unhealthy.”

The Central San Bernardino Mountains had the highest AQI rating (197) on Wednesday.

If the air remains unhealthful throughout the week, then the South Coast Air Quality Management District will continue to issue air quality alerts.

While the air reach unhealthful levels this week, the weather patterns apparently have changed since Monday, when near-record breaking temperatures were predicted in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The National Weather Service Monday forecast temperatures topping out in the triple digits all week. A senior meteorologist there said daytime highs through the week would be around 105 with overnight lows in the upper 60s to low 70s.

However, temperatures briefly topped out at 100 shortly after 12:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. About one hour later, temperatures in the Santa Clarita Valley remained below 100 degrees; the warmest temperature for Wednesday was 95 degrees.

While a high pressure system apparently did roll into the valley this week, a National Weather Service spokesman said it did not bring temperatures as high as expected.

“It will be hot again (today), but Friday we should see a cooling trend,” said Steven Van Horn, weather specialist “(Wednesday) was the warmest day; it will definitely be cooler by the weekend. A high pressure system did come in on Monday, and it strengthened (on Wednesday), but it should weaken by Friday and Saturday.”

Van Horn said the forecast for today was 94, with overnight temperatures expected to reach the mid 60s. Also, a 20 percent chance of rain was predicted for late Friday morning.


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