Air Pollution alert for Wednesday May 2nd

Delaware’s first major “ozone season” air pollution alert has been issued for tomorrow:

Wednesday, May 2nd, will be a Code Orange Air Quality Action Day for Delaware!

An early season air quality event is underway across the northern Mid-Atlantic region. Ozone has risen dramatically on Tuesday, much faster than expected, given the still relatively low temperatures by summer standards. The air mass in place appears to be quite polluted, with dilute smoke present from fires burning upwind across the southeastern U.S., which is fueling ozone formation. Wednesday will be warmer than Tuesday, with temperatures reaching into the mid-80s °F. Humidity will remain quite low, with clear skies allowing strong May solar radiation to promote rapid ozone formation. The only potentially limiting factor is breezy afternoon winds, but given the other ozone-conducive conditions in place, the uptick in afternoon atmospheric mixing is not expected to be enough to prevent daily ozone from reaching the Code Orange range. For more information about the air quality alerts and what you can do to reduce air pollution, check out the following website: A Code Orange air quality forecast for ozone is a level of pollution that can be unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as young children, the elderly, and those with heart and/or respiratory conditions. Such persons should limit outdoor activities, especially those that require a high level of exertion. Any health related questions should be directed to the Division of Public Health at 302-739-6619. All other questions should be directed to the Division of Air Quality at 302-739-9402-

-This message was brought to you by the Division of Air Quality, DNREC.

Note that the forecast for particles is Code Yellow and  your health will be affected by the combination of these two pollutants, while the official alert system considers only the highest  one.  So in terms of likely health effects, Green Delaware would call this Code Red (unhealthy for everybody).  See more info.

Also note that the EPA Airnow site shows that almost the entire Delmarva Peninsula is already Code Orange today (Tuesday), while the State of Delaware monitors are showing Code Green.  This is odd because the state monitors are supposed to be the source of the Airnow data.  (Things may have changed by the time you see the information.)  This national map seems to be showing the Delmarva Peninsula as the largest high-ozone area in the US.

Air quality is likely to be bad for the next few days:

Extended Forecast:
Another day of USG [Unheathy for Sensitive Groups] ozone is possible on Thursday. The same air mass will be in place, and skies will remain mostly sunny. Humidity will be on the increase, however, which may make enough of a difference to drop ozone back into the Moderate range. More clouds are expected on Friday ahead of an approaching cold front, likely limiting ozone to the Moderate range. Moderate particle air quality will linger until Saturday, after the cold front passes through the state.

It’s also worth noting that ozone forecasting is seasonal and begins on May 1st.  Thus, the first day of the season in Delaware has been a real “opener.”

Please take care of your health and urge “your” elected officials to support cleaner air!  With the federal government in the hands of crooks, liars, and polluters, only local action is likely in the near term.

Also:  For those receiving Green Delaware emails via yahoogroups, this service has become increasingly unreliable in recent months, and messages are often delayed.  Many longtime yahoogroups users are moving to something else.  Any thoughts or suggestions on this would be appreciated.


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