Drought-busting winter storms have another upside: cleaner air
Drought-busting winter storms have another upside: cleaner air.
The epic rainfall that has pummeled Southern California this winter has lifted the area out of extreme drought – and it’s also been great for air quality.
Strong winds blow smoke, soot and particulates out of the L.A. basin, while rain rinses the air clean.
Air pollution has exceeded federal standards for particulate matter on just 7 days since November 2016.
Compare that to 35 days in the same period in 2014-2015, the worst winter of the drought.
During the drought, pollutants built up in stagnant, dry air.
Summer in Southern California is smog or “ozone” season.
Winter, meanwhile, is particulate-matter season because of the added pollution from wood-burning stoves.
Seasonal fog and cloud help particulates form in the air.
The SCAQMD issues burn bans throughout the winter when the agency thinks particulate matter is going to reach unhealthy levels.