Bay Area

Bay Area prepares for much-needed rain, which will clear out smoky air

WALNUT CREEK (KRON) - Word of rain returning to the Bay Area brings much-needed relief from the smoke that has lingered now for a couple of weeks.

Also, our dry vegetation can use a good drenching.

People in the Bay Area are preparing for a downpour.

The air isn't fresh in the Bay Area, but taking a deep breath Tuesday was much less irritating than it has been for nearly two weeks.

Joel Smith in Walnut Creek is taking advantage of the break in the weather to get a little yard work done.

"The rain will be welcome to clear away the smoke," Smith said.

Smith lives near Howe-Homestead Park. That is one of five locations Walnut Creek has turned into free sandbag stations.

"They don't have no shovel here," resident Bob Chin said.

Rain is expected overnight, but Chin fears his home could experience some flooding.

So, he packed a few bags of sand in the Larkey Park parking lot.

"My pipe is all backed up," Chin said. "Any water will overflow my sewage. So, that's why I'm doing it."

There are also concerns about the particulate matter from the smoke and the possibility of it causing health problems by contaminating our drinking water.

"The drinking water systems do filter out these types of pollutants and toxins," San Francisco Baykeeper Executive Director Sejal Choksi-Chugh said.

The San Francisco Baykeeper advocates for keeping the bay waters clean and safe.

"It's really a concern for air quality," Choksi-Chugh said.

Where the problem lies, she says, is with the runoff into our storm drains that feed into our creeks, rivers and the bay.

"A lot of pollution has accumulated on our street surfaces, and as soon as it starts raining, we are concerned that that pollution, the oil from our cars, the trash that collects on our streets, the fertilizers and pesticides that we've applied on our lawns over the summer--that stuff will wash off and get into the storm drains," Choksi-Chugh said.

The Baykeeper recommends waiting three days after a rain event before getting into any body of water.

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