Two rain systems expected to wash away unhealthy air from Bay Area

The air over the Bay Area remained unhealthy on Monday, and residents were holding their breaths for yet another day or two for this good news: Rain is expected to shower down late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

"And it will be a decent amount," KTVU meteorologist Steve Paulson said.

There are even two systems expected. The second will land late Thursday after Thanksgiving, and last through early Friday. Areas including Santa Rosa, San Rafael, Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz should get up to three inches over the next week; and San Jose, Livermore and Concord should get at least an inch and a half, according to the weather service.

Many people on social media were worried that the rainfall would be toxic, since there has been so much pollution in the air. But National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Anderson said that by the time the rain comes down, the smoky air will have been pushed to Nevada, Idaho and Oregon. "By the time it starts to rain in the Bay Area," he said, "the air should be good enough." 

All the smoke and pollution has been caused by the Camp Fire up north on Butte County, prompting the closure of schools, festivities and sports competitions because of the poor air quality. The AQI since Friday has been in the 200s in many Bay Area cities, and then in the mid-150s over the weekend. Anything over 150 is unhealthy. Anything over 200 is very unhealthy.

However the rain will also complicate matters for search and rescue crews in Butte County, looking for human remains left in the ask of the wildfires. There are still about 1,000 people declared missing after the fire that broke out more than a week ago. 

Most of that area where the Camp Fire is burning is in the Feather River Watershed. And so when the rain comes, Anderson said, the toxins and loose debris that have so far burned will eventually drain into surrounding creeks, waterways and eventually Lake Oroville.