Dense wildfire smoke remains trapped through the weekend

Air quality is unhealthy for everyone
Valley 10-day forecast 9/24/2021
Mountains 7-day forecasts 9/24/2021
Posted at 5:27 AM, Sep 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-24 11:38:02-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Hot and dry weather continues with dense smoke trapped in Kern County as we head into the weekend as Central California is sitting between high pressure in the Pacific and a weak cutoff low feature over southern California. This is creating a dry offshore flow which works to push Sierra wildfire smoke into Kern County, but the winds aren't strong enough to mix it out. So we are hot and dry with air quality that's unhealthy for everyone again today with no relief through Sunday.

That means we'll stay in these hot and hazy 90s across most of Kern County as the high pressure stays in control, with an Air Quality Alert in effect through Monday morning. So sensitive groups, including young children and the elderly, are recommended to stay inside and protect their lungs. The Valley Air District says N95 masks can be worn by high risk groups to help keep some particulate matter out of your lungs, but they warn cloth masks worn to protect against Covid-19 may not provide protection from smoke.

By Monday, that high pressure finally moves out, allowing fresh ocean air to spill into the valley, mixing out a lot of our smoke and lowering temperatures closer to average, with a seasonal forecast in the sunny upper 80s here in the valley.

Later that night, a strong low pressure system from the Gulf of Alaska will take aim at the Pacific Northwest, bringing a big push of cleaner, cooler air to sweep into Central California. This far south we don't expect to see much cloud cover and only a 10% chance of rain along our mountain slopes, but we will enjoy the fresh Fall-like temperatures! Most of Kern County is looking forward to highs in the 70s by next Wednesday, the nicest temperatures we've seen since June.

The highest elevations of the Sierra Nevada mountains to our north could even see the first snow showers of the season! So hikers and campers venturing into these areas should be prepared for winter-like conditions next week.

In the long range forecast beyond that, it looks like high pressure is building back by the end of next week, sending temperatures soaring back to those hot and dry 90s through next weekend, the first couple days of October.

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