Sunday, April 29, 2007

Air Quality Forecasts

As we head toward the warmer months of the year, it's ozone forecast season again. The North Carolina Division of Air Quality set Monday, April 30 as the first day for their air quality forecasts this year. In the Triangle and the Sandhills, air quality forecasts are issued for ground-level ozone.

Ozone is not always a bad thing. In the highest levels of the atmosphere, stratospheric ozone protects us from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. Ozone near the ground level is not so helpful. Ground-level ozone is produced by pollution from cars and industrial sources. This pollution in high levels can affect those with respiratory problems.

The North Carolina Division of Air Quality issues their forecasts based on a color code -- green, yellow, orange, red, and purple. In order, those colors represent good, moderate, unhealthy for sensitive groups, unhealthy for everyone, and very unhealthy levels of ozone.

Ozone levels are typically higher on hot summer afternoons when the air becomes stagnant and locks in pollution. With warmer weather in the forecast for this week, the first forecast for Monday calls for a code yellow day, or moderate levels of ozone for both the Triangle and the Sandhills. In their forecast discussion Sunday afternoon, the Division of Air Quality indicated that a code orange forecast made be needed for Tuesday for some metropolitan areas in the state.

You can find the latest air quality forecasts by tuning to News 14 Carolina. We'll have the latest ozone forecasts in our Weather on the Ones reports airing at :11 and :41 after the hour.

Follow these links to find out more about ozone and air quality forecasts --

No comments: