Staff Writer, Nathaniel DiazAir Quality / Weather
Welcome to Winter 2015. A New Year's Eve storm will usher in cold, cold. cold, with a slight chance of rain for the Valley and other lower deserts.
The real concern is everyone polluting the air as the breathable air column descends and gets caught under the inversion layer. That means what goes up, fireplace smoke and fireworks, will be breathed in. Talk about second hand smoke!
So give the gift of breathing, do not use your fireplaces on New Year's Eve or Day. There is going to be enough smog in the Valley as it is. And, you could brighten someone's New Year by not sending them to the ER.
Here's the rest of the forecast:
Forecast Discussion: All eyes are on the approaching storm system to affect our region over the New Year's holiday. Latest weather model runs are in and the consensus is a colder and drier event; for the lower deserts. The moisture tap into our area peaks during Wednesday morning and afternoon. This is when cloud cover increases and the Phoenix Metro has the best shot at observing rain, particularly the higher terrain east and north. Ultimately, less rainfall and precipitation ending for the lower elevations around sunset New Year’s Eve will have consequences for air quality. This is a particularly cold storm that will lead to well below normal temperatures for much of the area, especially when winds turn light and cloud cover begins to break during the evening and overnight. Under these conditions, fireplace activity and fireworks can quickly contribute enough to PM-2.5 to warrant concerns for air quality. For instance, on New Year’s Eve 2012, similar weather conditions occurred when mostly clear skies, light winds, and cool temperatures developed during the evening. Despite relatively low PM-2.5 observations for much of the day, average hourly PM-2.5 concentrations leading into midnight surpassed 100 µg/m3 for some sites; pushing daily AQI values into the upper Moderate category for that day. Therefore, a PM-2.5 Health Watch has been issued for Wednesday, December 31st, 2014. Additionally, elevated PM-2.5 concentrations would carry over into New Year’s day. Subfreezing morning lows on Thursday will be slow to warm to near 50°F by afternoon. Light winds and long-lasting inversions are likely during this time. This means a PM-2.5 High Pollution Advisory is likely for New Year’s Day.