High ozone levels expected
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control's Division of Air Quality has declared Wednesday, May 2, a Code Orange Air Quality Action Day for Delaware.
A Code Orange air quality forecast 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 on Wednesday, especially those that require a high level of exertion.
According to the Division of Air Quality, an early season air quality event is underway across the northern Mid-Atlantic region. Ozone levels rose 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, visit this website.
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.