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Smoke, haze starting to clear as Metro Vancouver gets a sprinkle of rain, shift in breeze

FILE - A haze is seen clouding over New Westminster on Friday, Sept. 11. Smoke from wildfires in the U.S. has been impacting the air quality on this side of the border for days. (Ashley Burr, CityNews Vancouver)

It's been days since Metro Vancouver has been blanketed by a thick haze, but we're expecting some measurable improvement

Meteorologist Russ Lacate says showers Monday night are partly to thank for the improvement in air quality today

Breeze Tuesday, Wednesday is expected to help clear more of the air

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – We’re expecting some measurable improvement in air quality around Metro Vancouver today.

Meteorologist Russ Lacate says that’s thanks, in part, to showers last night.

“Curiously enough, the rain, which was just over one millimetres worth late yesterday into the evening actually temporarily led to higher readings, poorer air quality, because a lot of that particulate was being leached out of the lower layers of the atmosphere and brought right down to the surface by the rain drops,” he explains.

Russ says a shift in the breeze today and tomorrow should be helpful, too, to clear the air.

“I think we’ll start to see more and more subtle improvement throughout today because now the showers are over and done with, there’s a slight shift in the breeze and it’s coming down from the north off the mountains, so some areas away from the North Shore mountains may still see a slightly higher concentration of that localized smoke and haze,” he says.

As a result of the lingering smoke and haze, visibility will be limited at times.

“And yes, air quality, it’s less than ideal, obviously, but no where near as bad as it has been over the previous couple of days.”

Your Tuesday forecast includes more smoke, cloud, and haze in the morning, with the sun trying to filter its way through this afternoon with a high of 21°. Russ says tomorrow (Wednesday) brings much of the same, with an overcast start to the day with a partly sunny afternoon.

An air quality advisory, first issued last week, remains in place for the Lower Mainland. Exposure to the fine particulate matter in the air is of particular concern for people with underlying medical condtiions like lung cancer, heart disease, asthma, and/or diabetes, as well as people with accute infections, like COVID-19.