August weather in the Almanor Basin was all about the air quality

By Dale Knutsen

Special to Plumas News

Conditions in the Lake Almanor basin during the month of August will probably be best remembered as extremely smoky due to the ongoing Dixie Fire.  Warm and dry would only get passing notice.  It was the dense, often hazardous smoke that dominated the scene.

For those who do care about temperatures, our average August low was about 2 degrees warmer than the norm and our average high was about 3 degrees warmer.

But the number that really had our focus was the air quality index (AQI), and it wasn’t pretty.  The air quality people use a numbered scale from zero to 500 in measurements of the tiny particulates in the air.  They also have a corresponding color scale:  green indicates “good” air at an AQI from zero to 50, while at the other end of the scale dark purple indicates “hazardous” air at an AQI from 300 to 500.  Unfortunately, the air in the Lake Almanor basin was literally off the chart on numerous occasions in August when the AQI reading was in excess of 800.

With the active part of the fire now further away our variable air quality is slowly improving but smoke is still present in the basin as we start into September.  The expectation is that temperatures will gradually decline and there is the possibility of a little rainfall later in the month.