Improved air quality, lower temperatures in L.A. forecast



Residents in Los Angeles County can breathe a little easier this weekend, as air quality is expected to improve for the first time in nearly two weeks.

The National Weather Service said Friday that a front of cold, low-pressure air moving in from the northwest will help clear out some of the wildfire smoke that has been smothering much of the region.

“We’re expecting better today, even better tomorrow and through the weekend,” Kathy Hoxsie, a meteorologist with the weather service in Oxnard, said Friday.

The full benefits of the system will be felt in the northern portion of the state, Hoxsie said, but L.A. will receive “enough of the tail that it’ll make a big difference.”

The system will also bring a dip in temperatures — another relief after record-setting heat earlier this month.

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Brooks Hubbard with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers takes photos from the historic North Broadway Bridge over the Los Angeles River Tuesday morning as smoke and ash from the Bobcat fire cloak the area. 

(Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

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Elijah Simpson practices shooting hoops against a backdrop of smokey skies from the Bobcat Fire at Angel’s Gate Park in the San Pedro on September 16, 2020.  

(Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

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A helicopter fights the Bobcat fire burning dangerously close to Mt. Wilson Observatory. 

(Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

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An aerial view of Dodger Stadium and the downtown Los Angeles skyline at sunset is obscured by smoke, ash and smog on Sept. 14. 

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

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Visitors check their photos at Griffith Observatory with a smoky view of the Hollywood sign behind them. 

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

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Two people get ready to surf as a hazy red sun sets off Hermosa Beach. 

(Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)

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Smoke from the Bobcat fire burning in the Angeles National Forest blankets the Southland. 

(Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

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An airplane flies through smoky skies in downtown Los Angeles. 

(Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times)

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A smoky haze envelopes Santa Monica Beach.  

(Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)

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Beachgoers walk along the shoreline in Laguna Beach beneath a hazy sky. 

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

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A crow on a cypress tree in Garden Grove is silhouetted by a sun obscured by ash from Southland wildfires. 

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

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The sky is gray over the Santa Monica Pier as a family plays in the breakwater.  

(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

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A man walks his dog past the historic lifeguard tower in Laguna Beach as the sun is obscured by smoke from wildfires. 

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

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An upbeat message on the South Coast Cinemas marquee in Laguna Beach is dimmed by the smoky air. 

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

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Surfers near the Manhattan Beach Pier under a smoky sunset. 

(Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)

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Gray skies over the Santa Monica Pier.  

(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

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A hazy sun is seen behind the Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove. 

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

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Despite the unhealthful air quality, Fabian Ortez of Riverside enjoys an afternoon of fishing off the pier in Seal Beach. 

(Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

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The Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove. 

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

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A bicyclist travels along the 1st Street Bridge as smoke hovers east of downtown Los Angeles. 

(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

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Haze from the Bobcat fire looms over Azusa as it burns in Angeles National Forest. 

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

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The Los Angeles skyline is shrouded in smoke from the Bobcat fire as seen from the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. 

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

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Haze from the Bobcat fire looms over Kare Park in Irwindale. 

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

But residents eager to get outdoors should wait until Friday evening, or even Saturday, to resume activities, as the South Coast Air Quality Management District has extended its smoke advisory through Friday afternoon.

Moderate air quality readings may also shift toward unhealthy levels during the day.

“It’s about how you feel as a person because we all react differently to wildfire smoke,” said Meredith Kurpius, assistant director at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Air and Radiation Division. People should curtail exertion and outdoor activities if they feel symptomatic at any time, regardless of air quality readings, she said.

Symptoms linked to poor air quality include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and aggravated asthma.

The precise timing of the air quality shift depends on how quickly the low-pressure trough moves in, Hoxsie said, although at least some improvement is expected Friday.

“It’s nice to be able to pass along good news,” she said.