Air quality officials warned Thursday of “very unhealthy” smog levels in the coming days as a heat wave envelops Southern California and primes the region for a bout of unusually high and widespread pollution.
Levels of ozone — the lung-damaging gas in smog — are likely to reach “unhealthy to very unhealthy” levels in the Santa Clarita, San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, Inland Empire and the San Bernardino and San Gabriel mountains, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
Scorching temperatures are expected to combine with atmospheric inversions that trap pollution near the ground and “may cause unusually high and persistent levels of poor air quality,” according to the district. Smoggy conditions are expected to last through early next week or as long as the high heat lingers over the U.S. Southwest.
It’s not uncommon for air quality to reach unhealthy levels, especially in the Inland Empire, where the air violates federal health standards on most summer days.
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