Merced air qual­ity greatly im­proves af­ter rain­fall

Merced Sun-Star (Saturday) - - Community - BY AN­DREW KUHN [email protected]­ced­sun-star.com

Re­cent rain show­ers have left the Merced area with about a quar­ter inch of rain and im­proved the air qual­ity since Wed­nes­day, the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice re­ports.

Jim Bag­nall, me­te­o­rol­o­gist with the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice in Han­ford, said the show­ers were a re­sult of a typ­i­cal win­ter weather sys­tems from the north­east Pa­cific that has moved south through the area.

Fore­cast­ers pre­dict the area could re­ceive up to another quar­ter inch by the end of the com­ing Wed­nes­day.

Ban­gall said the Merced area can ex­pect to see tem­per­a­tures stay­ing in the low to mid 60s through Wed­nes­day next week. Overnight lows are ex­pected to hover around the low to mid 40s, he said.

Tem­per­a­tures have been recorded to be about av­er­age for this time of the year. Ac­cord­ing to Bag­nall, Thurs­day’s high was recorded at 65 de­grees. But tem­per­a­tures may drop slightly with the high ex­pected to be in the mid to up­per 50s by Thurs­day next week, he said.

The Merced area nor­mally records about 10.7 inches of rain by this time in the cal­en­dar year and cur­rent rain­fall mea­sure­ments have recorded 6 inches of rain so far.

Bag­nall said Oc­to­ber is usu­ally the start of the wa­ter year for this area. “We are go­ing into a more nor­mal pat­tern with sys­tems ex­pected to move through a lit­tle more reg­u­lar,” said Bag­nall.

Com­pared to Novem­ber rain­fall num­bers last year, Bag­nall said this Novem­ber ap­pears to be on track to be a wet­ter month.

The area is cur­rently be­hind on rain­fall to­tals for the month, but rain­fall lev­els should reach nor­mal or pos­si­bly be slightly above nor­mal by the time the next rain­storms move through, he said.

Merced area res­i­dents can thank the lat­est weather sys­tems for im­prov­ing air qual­ity, which was se­verely im­pacted fol­low­ing mas­sive wild­fires in Par­adise and Mal­ibu, Calif. Ac­cord­ing to Bag­nall, Wed­nes­day’s air qual­ity was hov­er­ing around level four (level five is con­sid­ered the most haz­ardous level).

Since then, the air qual­ity has dropped to a level one — putting Merced’s air in the “good” cat­e­gory.

Look­ing ahead to the next five days, Bag­nall said the area could ex­pect a 20 to 30 per­cent chance of rain and see about a tenth of an inch around Tues­day. Another sys­tem is ex­pected to move through later next week that could drop up to half and inch of rain by Nov. 29.

That sys­tem may bring wind gusts be­tween 15-20 mph, but they should not be strong enough to cause an ad­vi­sory, ac­cord­ing to Bag­nall.

The re­cent weather sys­tems are re­spon­si­ble for drop­ping about a foot of snow in the the Sierra Ne­vada at an el­e­va­tion of 7,000 feet and above.

Bag­nall cau­tioned motorists head­ing into the moun­tains that the use of chains will prob­a­bly be re­quired, and to be pre­pared for weather con­di­tions. “It’s al­ways a good idea if you are go­ing into the moun­tains to have wa­ter, blan­kets and any­thing you might need,” said Bag­nall.

The chance of fog is also some­thing Bag­nall cau­tions motorists to keep in mind. “When rain comes, overnight fog is a pos­si­bil­ity. Be pre­pared for that,” he said.

To check cur­rent con­di­tions in your area, visit the air pol­lu­tion con­trol district’s web­site at www.val­leyair.org.

AN­DREW KUHN [email protected]­ced­sun-star.com

A man shielded him­self from the rain with the hood of his jacket as he rode along West Main Street in Merced on Fri­day.

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