DEP Issues a Code Orange Air Quality Action Day Forecast for January 31, 2016 for Eight Counties in South-central PA
On air quality action days, young children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems, such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis, are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and should limit outdoor activities.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standardized air quality index uses colors to report daily air quality. Green signifies good; yellow means moderate; orange represents unhealthy pollution levels for sensitive people; and red warns of unhealthy pollution levels for all.
Over the weekend, with a ridge of high pressure building in the south-central region of Pennsylvania from the southeastern US, warmer air will begin to build in over the commonwealth. On Sunday, the clear skies during the early morning hours coupled with the thick snowpack across eastern PA will allow for the formation of a strong surface inversion. The inversion will help to limit mixing near the ground, forcing an increase in particle pollution concentrations. Particle levels are expected to remain elevated during the afternoon as the winds remain light as they turn more out of the southeast. Overall, the daily average concentration of particle pollution should peak in the Code ORANGE range.
To help keep the air healthy, residents and business are encouraged to voluntarily restrict certain pollution-producing activities by:
• Limiting the use of wood stoves in the overnight hours;
• Setting thermostats to a lower temperature
• Carpooling or using public transportation; and
• Combining errands to reduce trips.
These forecasts are provided in conjunction with the Lehigh Valley-Berks Air Quality Partnership and the Susquehanna Valley Air Quality Partnership.