News & Events

Your Lungs Don't Lie: Today's An Air Quality Action Day

Friday, June 29, 2012

It's gross out, and for many in the region, it's hard to breathe today.

The Code Orange forecast:

Friday’s Forecast: Hot conditions will continue on Friday as temperatures again will climb well into the 90s. There is potential for a small scale convective system to move into the Commonwealth during the early morning hours to bring some localized showers for a short time period. Clearing skies will occur early enough that Ozone formation will be enhanced once again to see values reach at least the moderate range. Some locations, due to the variability of the early morning system, can possibly even see Code Orange levels of Ozone despite the chance for an early shower. Winds will become breezy out of the northwest as conditions are quick to dry out by late morning. Dew point temperatures will increase early, but fall off slightly in the afternoon with the clearing skies. PM 2.5 levels should reach the moderate range but will struggle to climb with the drier and breezy afternoon winds. *** Extended Forecast: We will sit along the outer edge of an area of high pressure as we progress into the weekend as the high heat continues to bear down on the east. This “ring of fire” scenario provides a potential for some disturbances to cross the region, bringing a chance for a quick shower or thunderstorm. This probability for a scattered shower or thunderstorm could impact air quality conditions for the weekend. The instability with these features could develop cloud cover that would limit just how high Ozone levels will climb. Weaker disturbances would have less of an impact, therefore creating potential to see Code Orange levels continue. Forecast highs will be in the mid to upper 90s with dew point temperatures hanging around the mid 60s to near 70 degrees. PM 2.5 levels should remain in the moderate range despite some mixing with an afternoon breeze. The heat will continue into early next week along with the threat for a scattered shower or two. Without a big change in the weather pattern likely at the present time, scattered moderate to Code Orange levels of Ozone could continue into early next week. PM 2.5 levels will also likely remain at least moderate with moderately high dew point temperatures. One thing to keep an eye on is transport of smoke from wildfires to the west, if any of it were to reach this far east, and a smaller scale wildfire currently in northern Virginia. Smoke could play a role in how both Ozone and PM 2.5 levels react over the forecast region. As holiday festivities begin to kickoff, PM 2.5 and Ozone could also become impacted by firework activities.

Do you want to do something about our poor air quality?

Take a leadership role in the Share the Ride Challenge.

Here are some additional Air Quality Action Day tips you can follow to help reduce pollution:

The Lehigh Valley/Berks County Air Quality Partnership encourages residents to consider using public transit or other forms of alternative transportation on all Air Quality Action Days.

Days when ozone levels are expected to be high:

* Conserve electricity and set your air conditioner at a higher temperature.
* Choose a cleaner commute—share a ride to work or use public transportation. Bicycle or walk to errands when possible.
* Refuel cars and trucks after dusk.
* Combine errands and reduce trips.
* Limit engine idling.
* Use household, workshop, and garden chemicals in ways that keep evaporation to a minimum, or try to delay using them when poor air quality is forecast.

Days when particle pollution levels are expected to be high:

* Reduce or eliminate fireplace and wood stove use.
* Avoid using gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.
* Avoid burning leaves, trash and other materials.

This forecast is brought to you by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) and the Air Quality Partnership of the Lehigh Valley - Berks Area.