Sierra foothills: Warning issued for poor air quality |

Sierra foothills: Warning issued for poor air quality

GRASS VALLEY, Calif. and#8212; Hot temperatures and southerly winds are expected to send pollution up from the Central Valley and cause spikes in foothill ozone levels, making the air unhealthy for sensitive people during the next few days.

and#8220;It did get into the unhealthy range in Roseville (on Tuesday). What happens down there blows up here,and#8221; said Joe Fish of the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District.

So far this season, eight unhealthy ozone days have been recorded in western Nevada County, Fish said.

A strong high pressure building over the interior of Northern California will result in above-normal temperatures for the rest of the week, the National Weather Service reported.

Temperatures are expected to soar as high as 110 degrees in the Sacramento Valley Thursday and Friday. For the foothill region, highs are expected to range from the mid 90s to 108 degrees.

Poor air quality and high temperatures can make children and the elderly ill, the Nevada County Public Health Department warned. Gov. Arnold Schwarzennegger also reminded people to take extra precautions.

and#8220;This is just a perfect place for pollution in California,and#8221; Fish said. People living near major river or creek canyons suffer from high ozone levels in the afternoons, but enjoy better air quality after the sun goes down, when and#8220;air masses flush ozone out,and#8221; Fish said.

Conditions are expected to improve Saturday. As temperatures drop over the weekend, ozone levels are expected to decrease.

Elderly, children, asthmatics, adults with pre-existing heart and lung disease, pregnant women and people who exercise outdoors are most at risk for high ozone levels.

Exposure to high ozone levels can result in eye and throat irritation, shortness of breath, congestion, coughing, impaired lung function and chest pain.

Sensitive people should avoid prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion, especially during the late afternoon and evening.

Minimizing use of internal combustion engines can help reduce poor air quality, Fish said.

For current ozone conditions or to learn more about ozone, visit or

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