A CODE ORANGE bad air week in Delaware

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Delaware only does notifications for CODE ORANGE days.   Minnesota does notifications at the lower CODE YELLOW level.

Maybe this is because the air in Delaware is CODE Yellow very often, especially in the summer, and state officials don’t want to remind Delawareans of this reality.

As we’ve pointed out many times, the air quality index system (the color codes) considers only the highest single pollutant concentration.  A more meaningful system would recognize that the effects of different air pollutants tend to add up (have “cumulative impacts”). Also, it will be hot and humid, and the allergen forecast is also high.

Two sources for allergen forecasts:

Pollen.com and A site connected to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: http://pollen.aaaai.org/nab/index.cfm?p=allergenreport&stationid=32&datecount=08%2F31%2F2015

or example, Pollen.com is forecasting allergen levels in Delaware to be 11.2 out of 12 on Thursday.

****** All these stressors add up and can easily cause problems. ******

In addition, as many will know, the Delaware City Refinery is acting up.

Here is the official forecast for Wed,:

Hot, humid, sunny, and stagnant weather conditions will continue on Wednesday, making it feel more like early August than the first week of September. Although these conditions are conducive to ozone formation, ozone concentrations are rising slower than expected as of 2 PM on Tuesday. As a result, only upper Moderate ozone conditions are expected on Wednesday, but isolated Code Orange (USG) ozone is possible, especially in northern Delaware. Particles will remain in the mid-Moderate range in response to humidity and remnant smoke transported from the western U.S. wildfires. **Extended Forecast: A weak cold front will arrive from the north on Thursday afternoon, but it is not expected to substantially impact air quality, allowing Moderate ozone and particles to continue. By Friday, winds shift onshore (northeasterly), bringing cooler air into the state. There is also a chance for afternoon thunderstorms. As a result, ozone will drop to the upper Good range. Particle concentrations will also drop but remain in the Moderate range. -Huff

But if we look a little deeper, we see that on Wed. ozone is forecast to be at 100, with CODE ORANGE beginning at 101.  And fine particles are forecast to be at 66,with CODE YELLOW beginning at 50.  So by all rights Wed. is really a CODE ORANGE day.

The forecast for Thursday is about the same,with Friday somewhat better.

Now, look at the image at the top of this post.  New Castle County is surrounded, West, North, and East, with Code Orange territory.

Does it really seem likely that Northern New Castle County air is cleaner than the air in the surrounding counties in three other states?

Delaware could take steps to clean up the air,

 

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