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There are three monitoring sites in Plumas County; Quincy, Chester and Portola. Portola’s air quality tends to trend higher than the other two monitoring sites, especially in the winter months. Any break in the line typically means that the equipment was down or that data did not transmit correctly to ARB. Graph courtesy NSAQMD

Air quality improves year over year

Results for Portola’s air quality for the month of January are in and show a slight improvement over January 2019.

There were 10 days noted over the past month with particulate matter, or PM2.5, exceeding the National Ambient Air Quality Standard.

Compared to the 12 days of “exceedances” recorded this time last year, this is a slight improvement, said Julie Ruiz of the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District. She also noted that this January there were no days of exceedances over 55 micrograms per cubic meter, which is considered unhealthy for all individuals.

“This is reduced from January of 2019, when there were two days recorded over 55,” Ruiz said. In past years, the highest values have reached into the 60s, so the overall downward trend is a positive one.

Precipitation over the month was below normal, and the entire region is below normal at this point for the water year, which began Oct. 1. For Portola, this looked like a recorded 2.3 inches of rainfall, about the same amount recorded in December 2019.

Weather patterns greatly influence air quality and particulate levels, and the region is expected to be drier and warmer than normal through March, and closer to average in April and May, per Northern California GACC, 1-30-20.

For real time Portola air quality, visit myairdistrict.com, and from the home page, click on Portola to see current levels of particulate matter.

For smoke complaints and other air quality concerns, or any other questions, contact the air quality district at 832-0102.

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