Air stagnation advisory issued for parts of Willamette Valley

A stagnant air advisory is in effect for the southern and central Willamette Valley through Monday evening, which could lead to poor air quality affecting people with respiratory issues.

The advisory was issued early Sunday morning by the National Weather Service, along with a dense fog advisory for the central part of the valley that expires at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Portland NWS meteorologist Jon Bonk explained that the possibility of deteriorating air is caused by a high-pressure system trapping warm air along with any pollutants it brings near the ground.

“Generally speaking, this is caused by light surface winds and strong temperature inversions above the surface,” Bonk said Sunday. “Which means that instead of the temperature cooling normally, there’s a point where it starts to warm up with altitude.”

Air quality:How Lane County knows when the air is unhealthy

The advisory states that people with respiratory conditions should follow their doctor’s advice to deal with air pollution during periods of stagnant air. He adds that national air quality agencies “strongly recommend” that no outdoor burning occurs and that residential wood burning be limited as much as possible. Residents can also check with local burn agencies for area-specific restrictions.

Both Eugene and Springfield had a “good” air quality index of 26 and 19, respectively, as of noon Sunday, according to the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency map. Salem had a slightly worse “good” rating of 47. The stagnation advisory lasts until 10 p.m. Monday.

Although not unheard of, Bonk said the Willamette Valley is experiencing an unusually long period of peaceful storms that are blocked by high-pressure systems, which in turn prevent the storms from removing pollutants from the air.

It also resulted in drier than normal weather.

“For typical weather, we can have lousy weather and then two weeks like this is the average cycle,” Bonk said. “In this case, we have weeks and weeks of mostly dry weather.”

Louis Krauss covers breaking news for The Register-Guard. Contact him at [email protected]and follow him on Twitter @LouisKraussNews.

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