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Spare the Air Alert for Second Day in a Row

Heat leads to high air pollution and air quality district urges commuters to seek alternate forms of transit.

After declaring Monday a Spare the Air Day, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued a Spare the Air Day for Tuesday, Sept. 19, as well. The back-to-back alerts are due to  hot temperatures and light winds that have combined to produce poor air quality.

This is the sixth air health alert for 2011.

"Tomorrow, we are again forecasting unhealthy concentrations of smog,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District, in a released statement. “With temperatures continuing to run high, it’s more important than ever that residents drive less, take public transportation, reduce energy use and do their part to minimize pollution."

Because of the high temperatures and poor air quality, residents, particularly the elderly and children, are advised to minimize their amount of time outdoors and undertake vigorous exercise only early in the morning when ozone levels are low.

Exhaut and emissions combine with oxygen in the heat to form ground-level ozone, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. The air pollution can cause throat irritation, congestion and chest pain and trigger asthma and worsen bronchitis and emphysema.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District issues Spare the Air Alerts whenever air quality is forecast to reach unhealthy concentrations.

The high temperatures are expected to continue through the week.

This week is expected to be one of the region's warmest of the year, according to the National Weather Service.

The higher temperatures will be noticeable throughout the Bay Area -- even in San Francisco, which is known for its chilly summers -- said Charles Bell, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service. September is the warmest month on average for San Francisco, said Jan Null, a meteorologist with Golden Gate Weather Services.

While the Bay Area will be warm this week, residents don't need to worry about extreme heat, Bell said.

"We're not anticipating hot weather where we're experiencing health advisories because people without air conditioning might be at risk,"
Bell said. "This should be one of the nicest weeks of the whole year for the whole Bay Area."

But, he advised Bay Area residents to make their outdoor plans before the weekend, as the warm weather is only expected to continue through Friday.

A typhoon in the Pacific Ocean will be bringing in moisture, and there is a possibility of rain on Sunday, said Bell.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District offered the following suggestions for improving air quality:

  • Visit 511.org to find a rideshare opportunity or check with HR office about carpool options at work
  • Bike to work or around town
  • Take public transit
  • Work at home or telecommute
  • Carpool and link your errands to reduce driving
  • Avoid using gas-powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers
  • Reduce household energy use
  • Cook indoors, not on the barbecue
  • Avoid using aerosol spay cleaners, paints and hairspray

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is the regional agency chartered with protecting air quality in the nine-county Bay Area. For more information about Spare the Air, visit www.sparetheair.org.

- Bay City News contributed to this article.

John Ferguson September 20, 2011 at 05:52 PM
Have a consulting gig in San Jose - rode my bike to the ferry, rolled over to CalTrain on 4th street in SF and rode it to San Jose. It was really easy. Hardest part was figuring out how to get to the Guadalupe path network from the train station, but I eventually found it.
Greg Nudd September 20, 2011 at 09:18 PM
Nice. A lot more pleasant than fighting traffic across the bridge and then up and down the peninsula. Is is crazy hot in San Jose?
Kelly Dunleavy O'Mara September 20, 2011 at 11:25 PM
I updated the story -- there's actually going to be a THIRD spare the air day on Wednesday.
Ralph September 21, 2011 at 03:50 PM
ambitious & impressive, John. Most find commute a burden when 3 different modes involved. Bike, ferry, and then train - looks like you've spared the air.
Gabrielle Cullen September 22, 2011 at 05:39 AM
You know it's going to be a hot day when the sun is shining at 7am, with no fog in sight. Yikes!

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