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Spare the Air approaches, and so does poor air quality in the San Joaquin Valley

It's the when time of year we turn our attention to the increasing issues with ozone. Spare the Air season begins May 1 and will last through the end of October.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — An Air Quality Alert is in effect for the San Joaquin Valley through Saturday morning due to blowing dust from gusty winds.

Areas under the slert include: San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and the Valley portion of Kern County.

The weather system bringing the cooler weather this week is also delivering gusty winds. Windy conditions and exceptionally dry soils will result in blowing dust through early Saturday.

According to Valley Air officials, this dust will create unhealthy concentrations of particulate matter. Exposure to this type of pollution can cause serious health problems, aggravate lung disease, trigger asthma attacks and bronchitis and increase risk of respiratory infections.

People with breathing concerns, older adults and children should avoid extended periods of time outdoors.

Yes, you're inside. Yes, it's still Spare The Air

This is also the time of year we turn our attention to the increasing issues with ozone. Spare the Air season begins May 1 and will last through the end of October.

Various monitoring sites through the state will take account of daily ozone readings and also forecast when the air quality could reach unhealthy conditions.

Ozone is the result of pollution like emissions from our cars that is heated by the sun and turns into ground-level ozone. Too much of this can create breathing and heart problems.

Credit: kxtv

Many California cities in the valley usually tops the list of worst air quality in the country. The pollution tends to get trapped in the lower elevation of the valley compared to the surrounding Coastal and Sierra Mountain Ranges.

Without a good air flow to move the pollution out of the valley, it can stay for days and weeks. Unfortunately, this can also come at a cost.

There is a fine that has to be paid if an area exceeds a certain number of days and hours that don't meet federal standards.

The good news is the valley has seen big improvements in air quality over the years. Programs set up for educational outreach and incentives have helped residents and businesses to work together for cleaner air.

Follow the conversation on Facebook with Monica Woods.

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