Air Quality Alert: DEEP Forecasts Elevated Levels of Ozone for Connecticut Saturday June 30, 2018 through Monday July 2, 2018
Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is forecasting a prolonged period of Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (USG) to Unhealthy (U) levels of ozone across Connecticut beginning Saturday June 30, 2018 and continuing through at least Monday July 2, 2018. Computer models predict the elevated ozone event lasting into the middle of next week. The ozone forecast will be updated on Monday morning to account for any changing conditions.
Health Effects of Air Pollution
When air quality is in the (USG) to Unhealthy categories, there is the likelihood of respiratory symptoms and breathing discomfort for most everyone. Children and people with asthma are most at risk for experiencing symptoms on Saturday, and everyone, including healthy adults will be at risk on Sunday and Monday when ozone levels are forecasted to reach Unhealthy levels due to the extreme heat. Active children, adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, are strongly advised to limit prolonged outdoor exertion Saturday, and everyone should limit all outdoor exertion on Sunday and Monday since ozone levels could potentially reach Unhealthy levels due the extreme heat. Peak ozone levels are predicted to occur each day between 12-8 PM EDT. However, since temperatures will still be very warm and residual elevated ozone levels during the evenings and early morning hours, be advised to limit your outdoor activity or exercise even before and after times of peak ozone levels to minimize health effects.
This will be our first big heat wave of this summer season with no end to the heat and elevated levels of ozone until at least the end of next week. High pressure setting up across the east coast will provide lots of sunshine, a light west-southwest wind, and very hot temperatures this weekend and well into next week. The extreme hot weather conditions will transport poor air quality and homegrown emissions to mix into the secondary pollutant, ozone, attributing to the poor air quality this weekend, Monday, and potentially through most of next week.
What You Can Do to Help
DEEP recommends simple, common sense steps to reduce your contribution to air pollution:
- Drive Clean –considered purchasing or leasing a plug-in electric vehicle. Learn more by visiting: www.driveelectricus.com;
- Drive Less - consider carpooling, vanpooling, using public transit or even telecommuting;
- Save Energy- setting air conditioners to 78o and “Wait ‘til 8” to use energy intensive appliances like washing machines, dryers and dishwashers;
- Be Aware of Your Air -Understand the Air Quality Index and sign up to receive alerts so you will know when air quality is predicted to be unhealthy; and
- When you know there will be an unhealthy air day-make small changes to your routine:
- Refuel your vehicle after dusk and stop refueling when the nozzle clicks off,
- Avoid idling your vehicle unnecessarily,
- Delay mowing your lawn or using other lawn and garden equipment until evening
- Limit your outdoor activity in the heat of the day,
- Refrain from recreational wood burning;
- Remember that knowledge is power! Ask your school if they participate in the School Flag Program, EPA’s Air Quality awareness tool that uses colored flags based on the AQI to notify teachers, students, administrators and the local community of air quality conditions.
Stay connected and access the daily AQI forecast and real-time air quality data
- Follow us on Twitter
- Sign up to get Air-Quality alerts through Enviroflash
- Visit DEEP’s AQI webpage or call 800-249-1234
- Go to EPA’s AIRNow web page
- Download EPA’s AIRnow app for your phone
Ozone Monitoring Season
DEEP monitors, tracks and forecasts daily air quality levels across Connecticut for ozone from May 1 through September 30 each year and for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) each day of the year. On April 30, 2018, DEEP began informing Connecticut’s regulated community and the general public of the ozone season via the State of Connecticut E-mail list serve and posting air quality forecasts on the DEEP web page, available here.
DEEP encourages daycare providers, summer camps and elder/senior centers to subscribe to the Air Quality Index (AQI). Subscribing to the AQI is fast and easy and will provide you with important information each day about Connecticut’s air quality through the spring and summer. The AQI link provides facts and information regarding ground-level ozone, its’ health effects, what today on high ozone day, and most importantly what you can do to help reduce ground level ozone in your backyard.