• By Tom Hillis
  • Posted Sunday, June 28, 2020

Code Orange Air Quality for Forsyth County on Sunday, June 28th, 2020

Due to increasing levels of particle pollution, from a Saharan dust plume, across the southeast US, the Triad's air quality forecast has been upgraded to code ORANGE for Sunday, June 28th, 2020. Code ORANGE air quality indicates air quality that is “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups”, meaning people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children and teenagers should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion. It is OK to be active outside but take more breaks and do less intense activities. People with asthma should follow their asthma action plans and keep quick relief medication handy. If you have heart disease: Symptoms such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, or unusual fatigue may indicate a serious problem. If you have any of these contact your health provider. Conditions are expected to improve by Monday.

What is a “Code Orange” day?

In air quality monitoring and forecasting, the Air Quality Index (AQI) is used to convey the quality of the air to the public. Green (0-50) is “Good” air quality, Yellow (51-100) is “Moderate” air quality, and Orange (101-150) air quality is considered “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups”. On Code Orange days local governing agencies encourage exposure mitigation for those most at risk from poor air quality and encourage community actions that can help improve the quality of our air. A burn ban on all materials also goes into effect on Code Orange days.

Who is most at risk during a “Code Orange” day?

Those most at risk from breathing air containing elevated levels of particulate matter include children, older adults, the elderly, those with lung or heart issues (like asthma or COPD) and those who are active outdoors, especially outdoor workers or those who exercise intensely outdoors. Children are at a higher risk from exposure as their lungs are still developing, they have smaller airways than adults, and they are more likely to be active outdoors when pollution levels are elevated. Older adults are also at high risk from exposure because they are more likely to have health issues, including various forms of lung and heart conditions that can be impacted and exacerbated by exposure to poor air quality.

What should I do?

  • Limit engine idling and skip the drive-thru lanes.
  • Choose a cleaner commute where possible such as combining errands to reduce trips.
  • Try to delay the use of household, workshop, and garden chemicals on "Code Orange" Days. This includes the use of gas-powered lawn equipment.
  • Burn Ban: A burn ban is in effect for the forecast area on an air quality action day (CODE ORANGE OR GREATER.)
  • Reduce electricity consumption at home and work to reduce power plant power generation demand.
  • Forecast Explanation for Sunday, 06/28/2020:

    Particle pollution (PM2.5) concentrations increased significantly on Saturday (06/27/2020), driven synoptically by a prolonged Saharan dust event, to Code ORANGE levels by early evening. The shallow nocturnal boundary layer Saturday into Sunday will help sustain high levels of PM2.5 near the surface overnight, and air quality levels will likely remain elevated through mid-afternoon, Sunday, maintaining low Code ORANGE levels. A slight chance of severe weather later Sunday will likely aid in decreasing particulate concentrations by the evening.

    Further Information:

    Forsyth County's Office of Environmental Assistance and Protection

    North Carolina Division of Air Quality

    The AirNow.gov Web site provides daily air quality reports for many areas. These reports use the Air Quality Index (or AQI) to tell you how clean or polluted the air is. Go to AirNow.gov to check your air now!

    EnviroFlash, a free service, can alert you via email when your local air quality is a concern. Sign up at www.enviroflash.info.

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at (336) 703-2440, or through our Triad Air Awareness https://www.facebook.com/TriadAirAwareness.

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