Orange Sky Lightens, But Smoke And Air Quality Grow Worse

By KCBS All News 106.9FM and 740AM

The Bay Area woke up on Thursday to more of an orange tint than the deep, dark orange hues that covered the region Wednesday.

Aaron Richardson with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District says fog is making all the difference. The additional moisture in the atmosphere changes the way the light shines through the wildfire smoke, making it appear more gray than orange.

But an inversion layer that kept the smoke high aloft on Wednesday has also gone, allowing the smoke to fall.

"We definitely got more of a smoke load near ground level, especially around San Francisco and the North Bay and near East Bay," he explained. "We may be also getting a little bit of smoke that came in with the onshore breeze last night. There’s just so much smoke swirling around offshore."

View it and weep. Today's GOES-WEST sat image showing west coast smoke

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That means the air quality in some areas has gone from “moderate” to “unhealthy” especially in San Francisco, as well as Marin and Sonoma counties.

"Put air conditioning, if you have it, on recirculate. Don’t go outside more than you need to. Definitely not a day to be exercising," said Richardson.

The cloth masks you wear to protect you from coronavirus will not be sufficient enough to protect you from the smoke; for that you will need a mask with particulate filters such as an N95 mask.

Relief is on the way with winds in the forecast, but still a few days away.

"We’re potentially seeing that next week with a low pressure drop off the coast, approaching the coastline," explained Rick Canepa, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "And that could start stirring things up and getting the smoke out of the Bay Area."