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Morgan Hill
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September 23, 2021

Air quality limits outdoor activities

A weeklong heat wave has ended as forecasters call for gradually
lowering temperatures, providing relief from high temperatures in
the upper 90s, low 100s, that brought on several
“Spare the Air” days.
A weeklong heat wave has ended as forecasters call for gradually lowering temperatures, providing relief from high temperatures in the upper 90s, low 100s, that brought on several “Spare the Air” days.

The combination of high temperatures and nearly non-existent winds spurred the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) officials to declare the air too polluted for normal operations and called for lowered use of gas-powered vehicles and appliances.

Friday’s high was 90. Most early-morning commuters saw heavy fog that spread over the Santa Cruz Mountains from Monterey Bay to Morgan Hill’s eastern hills.

The hottest day of the week was Monday when the thermometer reached 104.

Today’s high is expected to be 90, cooling to the mid80s by Sunday with early-morning fog and low clouds continuing.

Schools in the area limited outside activity. Britton and Martin Murphy Middle schools did not require PE students to do their normal runs, and many elementary schools eased up on putting students through their usual outdoor routines.

The two district high schools, however, allowed sports to continue as usual. Sobrato High and Live Oak High teams met in a field hockey match; Sobrato High football played its first game in Scotts Valley against Scotts Valley High and the Live Oak cross country team held its regular practice.

The Live Oak water polo match was canceled, but only because the opposing team could not get a bus to take them to Morgan Hill.

While there was no directive from the District Office about curtailing activities at the school sites, many principals and coaches made the decision to limit strenuous outside activity.

When the BAAQMD has designated a “Spare the Air” day, it means that there are at least two areas in the district which have been deemed unhealthy for certain groups of people due to weather conditions.

The level of pollution in the air on “Spare the Air” days is unhealthy for the elderly, very young children and persons with pre-existing lung conditions or diseases, such as asthma or emphysema. Experts also recommend that athletes refrain from heavy workouts on those days.

The BAAQMD would like to make the public aware of conditions, as well as educate the public about what steps to take to reduce the levels of pollution in the air.

When a “Spare the Air” day is declared, residents are asked to use public transportation, walk or bicycle whenever possible, to telecommute if possible instead of driving in to work, to refrain from using gas-powered landscaping tools such as mowers or weeders and cook inside instead of grilling out. For more information about “Spare the Air” days or the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, visit the website at www.sparetheair.org.

Marilyn Dubil covers education and law enforcement for The Times. She can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] or phoning (408) 779-4106 Ext. 202

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