July 9, 2008

Mid-Valley is Going to Sizzle This Week

By Andrea Koskey, Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, Calif.

Jul. 8--Smoky skies and high temperatures expected to stick around the Mid-Valley this week have prompted air quality officials to continue with strict warnings against outdoor activity, especially for those with highly sensitive respiratory problems.

The California Independent Systems Operator, which oversees the state's power grid, also issued a flex-alert Monday asking residents to reduce the use of energy between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. today, Wednesday and Thursday.

Sondra Andersson , air quality planner with the Feather River Air Quality Management District in Marysville, said these conditions could last through the end of the month.

"It all depends on the fires," Andersson said. "This week, we're not expecting (air quality) to change too much."

Hundreds of fires continue to burn in Northern California, adding to the poor air quality.

Monday, the California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board reported air quality at 102. The agency lists a rating below 50 as healthy and over 201 as very unhealthy.

The rating is based on particulate matter in the air. It is measured in parts per million and signifies traces of nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Yuba-Sutter's air quality varied over the past few weeks as a result of fires and shifting winds throughout the valley. The worst day reported by the agency was July 4, when air quality was 281.

Andersson said the management district and the National Weather Service do not expect conditions to let up during the week.

The National Weather Service expects temperatures to stay above 100 degrees through Friday. Highs are expected to reach 107 today and Wednesday and 106 on Thursday. Patchy smoke is also expected to last throughout the week.

Temperatures in Yuba City and Marysville are typically in the mid-90s, according to the Western Regional Climate Center. The hottest date on record for the month of July was 111 on July 20, 1960.

With smoke still in the area, the air quality management district warns residents to limit outdoor activity, especially if smoke is visible.

"Take it easy," Andersson said. "It's unhealthy out there for those with high sensitivity, but everyone should be careful."

A Fremont-Rideout Health Group emergency room charge nurse said there has been an increase in patients due to the excessive heat and smoky conditions, but the number of those patients admitted varies daily. No specific patient numbers were available.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests residents stay indoors, drink plenty of fluids and wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen if outdoor activity is necessary during extremely hot days.


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Copyright (c) 2008, Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, Calif.

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