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Air Quality Alert Issued for Thursday and Friday in Central Ohio
Ground-Level Ozone Forms as Temperatures Near 100 F
(COLUMBUS, June 28, 2012) - The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) is issuing Air Quality Alerts for Thursday, June 28 and Friday, June 29. The region - Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Knox, Madison, and Licking counties - is likely to experience ground-level ozone pollution levels that are Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups on the national Air Quality Index (AQI) scale. Thursday's AQI is forecasted to be 106, and Friday's is forecasted to be 101.
On Thursday, an upper-level ridge of high pressure over Ohio will limit vertical mixing in the atmosphere, trapping pollutants near the ground. Furthermore, mostly sunny skies with temperatures near 100 degrees Fahrenheit will enhance the formation of ozone. On Friday, light winds will limit pollutant dispersion. Therefore, despite scattered thunderstorms dispersing some pollutants, AQI levels will remain Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups on Friday as well.
These weather conditions, combined with regional pollutant carryover from Wednesday, will cause AQI levels to be Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups. These conditions, combined with pollutant carryover from previous days, will lead to Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups AQI levels. This causes the formation of ground-level ozone at levels that are unhealthy for sensitive groups of people, including people with heart disease, respiratory disease (such as asthma), active children, active adults, and seniors. Ground-level ozone pollution is a colorless, odorless gas produced when emissions from our cars, lawn equipment, and industry react together in the presence of sunlight.
MORPC uses the national AQI scale to inform the public about daily ozone and particle pollution levels in central Ohio. The AQI scale runs from 0-300 - the higher the AQI value, the greater the health concern. When levels reach above 100, air quality is considered to be Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups. MORPC issues an Air Quality Alert to the public when pollution levels reach 101 or higher.
Central Ohioans can now access real-time air quality information with the new AIRNow mobile app. You can get location-specific reports on current air quality and air quality forecasts for both ozone and fine particle pollution (PM2.5). Air quality maps from the AIRNow website provide visual depictions of current and forecast air quality nationwide, and a page on air quality-related health effects explains what actions people can take to protect their health at different AQI levels, such as "code orange." The app can be downloaded for Apple or Android at http://m.epa.gov/apps/airnow.html.
People with asthma are more likely to suffer an increase in the number and severity of symptoms during an Air Quality Alert. To decrease the potential for health implications, sensitive groups of people are urged to limit prolonged outdoor exertion. Those who are experiencing breathing difficulties should consult with their doctor. More information on the health effects of ozone pollution is available at: www.myfcph.org/air.php and www.publichealth.columbus.gov.
MORPC recommends taking the following actions for cleaner air and healthier communities:
- Consider traveling by carpooling, combining trips, riding COTA, bicycling or walking to your destinations. For more information contact RideSolutions at (888) 742-RIDE. MORPC's Five Days of Freedom campaign encourages central Ohioans to reduce time spent driving alone. Learn how you can participate at www.morpc.org/5.
- Turn off your engine instead of idling your vehicle to cut down on vehicle emissions that contribute to ground-level ozone pollution. You will save on gas by turning the engine off and restarting it again if you expect to idle for more than 30 seconds. You will also prevent pollution by avoiding long idles.
- Refuel your vehicle at dusk. Filling up your tank when the direct sunlight and heat have diminished helps reduce ground-level ozone pollution.
- Avoid topping off your tank at the gas station. Spilled gasoline pollutes the air when in evaporates.
- Consider mowing your lawn on a day when there is not an Air Quality Alert. Longer grass in your yard is good for the air, as well as the lawn.
You can sign-up online to receive Air Quality Alert notifications delivered straight to your inbox. Visit http://airquality.morpc.org and click on the EnviroFlash logo to start receiving free notifications.
MORPC is a voluntary association of over 40 local governments in central Ohio serving the region through planning, direct service, public policy information, innovative programming and intergovernmental coordinating services in the area of transportation, land use, energy conservation, the environment, and housing.