13-day streak of unhealthy air broken in Bay Area

A man walks in the rain in Oakland, Calif. where i'ts been 223 days since the last rain of .10 inches or greater. Nov. 20, 2018

With the showering rain and the shift in wind, most of the Bay Area on Wednesday shifted from the 13th consecutive day of unhealthy-or-worse air quality into to the “moderate” zone with even cleaner air on the horizon. 

Kristine Roselius, spokeswoman for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, said the Air Quality Index dropped from unhealthy to moderate for much of the region, with the same forecast predicted for Thanksgiving. Moderate air quality has an Air Quality Index of 51 to 100 PM.25, a reference to the particulate matter in the air. 

Parts of the Vallejo, Livermore and Pleasanton, however, will remain in the unhealthy category for Wednesday and will improve on Thursday to the low- to mid-moderate range, according to the district’s data. 

But by the end of the day in other areas, including Oakland, Berkeley, Redwood City and San Jose, the AQI should move into the best of categories – green – meaning the particulate matter is less than 50. 

As for taking of the N95 and getting outside to exercise, Roselius said "that all depends where people are. Our best advice is to watch the air quality closely and if it's good or moderate, then normal activities would be fine."

She added that smoke is unpredictable, so people should keep checking the air quality.

Since Nov. 8, when the Camp Fire broke out in Northern California, much of the Bay Area has been in the “red” or “unhealthy” zone, with AQI levels reaching into the mid 200s. 

On Friday, the worst day, some cities, including Richmond, hit the 300-plus AQI mark, meaning the air quality was hazardous in that zone.