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Tis the season for fog, haze, and poor air quality

Kboi Photo

Inversion: it's a term you hear frequently during colder months, primarily from Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day.

It’s when we have the least amount of daylight, a low sun angle, and little circulation in the atmosphere in between storms.

This allows cold air to get trapped in valleys surrounded by mountains, air that's more dense and heavier than relatively warmer air above.

Fog and haze usually form in the valleys, quickly reducing visibility and the air quality.

"It becomes really depressing if it sticks around too long... It just brings your spirits down, you just don't feel like doing much of anything because it is so dreary," said Larry Staugh, Lives in Boise.

Normally, the higher in elevation you go, the colder the air gets, that's not the case with an inversion.

From the mountain tops, the valley looks like it’s hidden in cloud cover, fog and pollution stuck along the valley floor.

There are ways to limit the impact on air quality.

"People can reduce the trips they make in vehicles, alternative transportation, or even not make trips if they're not necessary, that helps," said Mike Toole, Airshed Coordinator for DEQ.

And when the brownish haze does get to you.

"When you get too depressed you jump in the car and go to Cascade or up to Idaho City and get into the sunshine for the day and then come back home and put up with it until it leaves," said Staugh.

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