Air quality is better but not great as the heat continues

More haze and 100s in today's forecast
Valley 10-day forecast 8/10/2021
Mountains 7-day forecast 8/10/2021
Posted at 5:26 AM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-10 11:47:42-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Air quality can be considered "better but not great" as we saw some westerly winds overnight working to clear some of the smog and wildfire smoke out of the county. But as high pressure sits in control over the region, that leaves us hot and hazy for another day with stagnant conditions. So the air quality forecast is once again considered unhealthy for sensitive groups today.

As for the heat, yesterday's 100s makes this our seventh heatwave of the season, and the 100s continue today. Expect a high of 103 in Bakersfield, 101 in Lake Isabella and 106 in Ridgecrest while the south mountains see sunny and warm weather as well with a Tehachapi high of 92 today and 89 in Frazier Park.

As that high pressure remains in control near Las Vegas today, the rotation around that high will help to draw up some subtropical moisture from Tropical Storm Kevin far to our south off the coast of Baja California. While we're not taking a direct hit from this storm, we are seeing an impressive push of monsoonal moisture from it tomorrow. That means a chance of scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms in our mountain and desert communities in the afternoon through the evening hours Wednesday. But with this heat, there's a lot of evaporation, so we'll feel more humid tomorrow and watch for the threat of dry lightning strikes and the possibility of new wildfires in our mountains. In areas where thunderstorms form we'll watch for the chance of rain, including a chance for flash flooding in the desert southeast of the county line. There will also be the likelihood of gusty erratic winds and a chance for small hail too.

So while tomorrow remains hot and turns more humid, the increasing cloud cover should block some of the sunshine and therefore drop temperatures a few degrees. For now it doesn't look like we'll break the 100s in the valley, but we could in the in the Kern River Valley and desert cities. We'll also be closely watching how that turn in easterly flow will affect our trapped smoke here in the valley.

As that high pressure remains anchored in place through the week and builds this weekend, we'll leave hot afternoon highs in the forecast along with a slight chance of monsoonal moisture through at least Sunday.

Early next week we could see a drop in temperatures as a low pressure system tracks over Northern California. We'll wait to see how those winds could "cool" us down to the 90s potentially with a dry and fresh westerly wind to clear more wildfire smoke.

For now, the long range forecast shows us sunny and dry for the first day of school next Wednesday!

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