Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Last year, we were talking about snow in the Sierra

In the midst of this balmy, October weather, I sneaked a look at the weather a year ago. I saw an archived item about a local storm report — talking about snow in the Sierra Nevada. There were reports of heavy snow in the mountains of Fresno, Tulare and Madera counties.

Earlier in the month last year, there was an item about record heat. It was a good reminder of how quickly things can change in October.

No one has complained to me about temperatures in the 80s during the day and 50s at night. Air quality has been pretty good, too.

But if the nice weather continues into November, people will begin to get nervous about a third consecutive dry winter in Central California.

Responses

Étieme says:

Air quality pretty good? Maybe, knowing how bad it can get. But remember, our standard for what’s good, air-particulate wise, has been updated to no more than 12.5 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic meter. As we’ve averaged worse six of the last seven days, it’s fairer to say the air has only been moderately polluted, that is if you’re fortunate to live where your neighbors haven’t started burning. There’s been just enough chill in the air to set some of the soot-factories spewing already.

Étieme says:

Saturday and Sunday would both have been no-burn days under the more stringent threshold of 20 micrograms. Too bad the Air District’s focus is more on satisfying federal benchmarks than measures it knows to be protective of the public health and chooses to defer implementation by an entire year while the public suffers. Fine particle pollution is now recognized as a carcinogen. Why the delay?

Mark Grossi says:

All of a sudden, the pleasant October is turning nasty in terms of air quality. Ozone exceedances have spiked for three days in a row, and it looks like a stagnant air pattern has set in. Ozone exceedance count is 86 … 93 is the lowest number. This season could easily wind up at 94 or higher if things don’t change soon.

Étieme says:

Exceeding the daily soot (PM 2.5) standard in the San Joaquin Valley in October is common; not a single October has been free of a violation in eleven years. Yesterday, monitors in Fresno and Visalia exceeded the 30mcg/m3 daily threshold for PM2.5, which—had these occurred in the month of November—would have been sufficient to trigger the residential wood burning ban. These were not the first valley monitors to have done so this October. And under the more stringent 20mcg rule to be introduced next year, even more days would have been subject to a ban based on excessive levels of soot in the air — had they occurred in November rather than October.

Given how common these soot violations in October are, why doesn’t our Air District apply their rule to the month of October? And why the inexplicable one year delay in applying the more stringent threshold, 20mcg instead of 30mcg?

I know that in China, the people who make such decisions can afford air-filtration in their homes, their offices and their automobiles — so they don’t actually suffer the same environment most people do.

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