An overcast sky blanketed Merced on Monday, and according to weather officials, the clouds are expected to stick around until Wednesday morning.
Jim Andersen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford, said clouds and light sprinkles are due to monsoonal moisture flowing from areas with subtropical climate such as Mexico and Arizona.
Clouds keep the temperature lower during the daytime, so the higher temperatures are recorded in later hours when the clouds start parting, Andersen said. On Monday, the high of 97 was reached in late afternoon. Andersen explained that this weather is typical for the end of July and beginning of August.
Despite the misleading appearance of gloomy skies, temperatures continue to rise. According to forecasts, Tuesday’s high is expected to reach 102 with a low of 65. Wednesday will be mainly sunny with a high of 100.
Temperatures in the high 90s are anticipated for the remainder of the week.
Air quality, which is typically affected by high temperatures, has remained at moderately good levels, according to the Valley Air District’s Real-Time Air Advisory Network. On Monday, concentrations of fine particulate matter and ozone were recorded at Level 1 (Good) and Level 2 (Moderate), respectively. Andersen said there should be enough of a breeze this week to keep air quality at reasonably healthy levels.
According to Valley Air District officials, RAAN recorded a slight rise in particulate matter on the Fourth of July due to smoke from fireworks. By 10 p.m., particulate matter concentrations had reached Level 3 (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups).
Anthony Presto, a Valley Air District spokesman, said Merced got a break in comparison with other areas. Turlock was one of the areas that saw a dramatic spike in pollution during the holiday. By 10 p.m., levels of particulate matter were logged at Level 5 (Very Unhealthy).
Presto said that emissions of particulate matter are a health concern because they can affect people’s lungs and hearts.