Unusual temperatures this time of year impacting Valley air quality

Alyssa Flores Image
Wednesday, December 1, 2021
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Temperatures so warm this late in the year are affecting Central California, from our air quality in the Valley to a delay in snow tourism up in the mountains.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- November doesn't usually look like this -- sunny skies and day after day with temperatures reaching the 70s in the Valley.

This high pressure is acting more like a summertime high pressure, it's causing our temperatures to heat up and we are looking at the possibility of some record highs," says Jim Bagnall with the National Weather Service.

The start of December usually brings highs in the upper 50s. But this week, warm temperatures have the potential to break records in parts of the Valley.

On Thursday, if afternoon highs hit the low 70s in Merced or Hanford, they could be the warmest temperatures ever recorded on December 2.

"It's not a good situation as far as rainfall and what we need but people, I think, are actually enjoying the mild temperatures during the day," Bagnall said.

Despite warm weather during the day, cold conditions after the sun goes down are still prompting people to turn on a fire to warm up.

"That's actually showing you particulate matter pollution creeping up in the overnight hours because of wood burning," says Heather Heinks with the Valley Air District.

The haze over the Valley we are seeing now is in part due to the burning and emissions from traveling over Thanksgiving.

"We are under high pressure so that means the fire that you maybe had over the holiday, that particulate matter is still hanging out in the Valley's atmosphere," Heinks said.

Without weather working in their favor, China Peak Mountain Resort continues to be closed.

"There really hasn't been much snow-making opportunity at all," says Co-Owner Tim Cohee. "There have been a couple of nights but they have been followed by very warm daytime temperatures and then last week, warm every day and night."

The ski and snowboarding destination had hoped to open Thanksgiving weekend, but a lack of snowfall or freezing temperatures has prolonged that.

Cohee says he's now optimistic the first week of December could bring temperatures cold enough to make snow.

"Temperatures roll in, they get in the mid-20s and we can open up trails in three or four nights," he said.

China Peak is still looking for employees for their December opening.

A job fair will be held this Saturday at China Peak from 9 am to 3 pm.