The Department of Environmental Management has issued an air quality alert for Tuesday. DEM forecaster, Darren Austin says ozone levels are expected to reach unhealthy territory this afternoon and this evening.
“So what that means is that really people should try to take it easy,” said Austin. “You don’t want to be outside exercising vigorously. Sensitive groups, you could feel the effects of this if you’re outside today breathing this air and asthmatic, but really on alert days, everyone can be impacted.”
The poor quality is due to high heat, humidity, and wind currents. Those wind currents are flowing in from the southwest today, according to DEM scientists. That means air coming into Rhode Island has passed up the Interstate 95 corridor from New York City; a congested area of the country.
“When you add the heat,” said Austin, “with that trajectory bringing in these precursor pollutants,that gets cooking during the afternoon with the heat. That’s how you have ozone formation.”
The DEM is encouraging Rhode Islanders to limit driving, and if you have to drive, to avoid idling. Use of outdoor power equipment, like gas-powered lawn mowers is also discouraged.
Air quality is expected to return to healthy levels tomorrow, as winds move in from the Atlantic Ocean.
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