Suspension of Ozone Alerts

Via the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality:

Seasonal suspension of daily ozone forecasts as of September 23rd; Daily particle pollution forecasts continue year-round

Seasonal suspension of daily ozone forecasts as of September 23rd; Daily particle pollution forecasts continue year-round

As we enter fall, days grow shorter and temperatures cool. And ground-level ozone concentrations remain in the good or, at worst, moderate range. As a result, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will suspend daily ground-level ozone forecasts for Richmond, Hampton Roads, Winchester and Roanoke as of Friday, September 23rd (the last ozone forecast will be issued on Thursday, September 22nd). However, daily air quality forecasts for particle pollution will continue through the fall, winter and spring for Richmond, Hampton Roads, Roanoke and Winchester. They will continue to be emailed daily and posted at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/AirQualityForecasting.aspx. Ozone forecasts for Richmond, Roanoke, Winchester and Hampton Roads will resume in Spring 2017 when warmer, ozone-conducive weather returns.

Dan Salkovitz
Meteorologist
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
8th floor, Air Division
Mailing address: P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA 23218
Street address: 629 E. Main St., Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: (804) 698-4404 Fax: (804) 698-4510
Phone toll-free in Virginia: (1-800) 592-5482 ext. 4404
Daniel.Salkovitz@deq.virginia.gov
Access the Air Quality Forecast Webpage:
http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/AirQualityForecasting.aspx
Access the Office of Air Quality Assessments Webpage:
http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/AirQualityAssessments.aspx

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New Virginia Law Bans Smoking in Car

A Virginia law went into effect July 1 banning smoking in a car with a child under 8 years old.  The law only affects lighted smoking equipment, so doesn’t appear to cover vaping, and is only a secondary offense.  So, to be charged, one has to be pulled over for a second, primary offense, such as speeding.

 

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Lead Safe Roanoke

We wanted to share some information from our friends at Lead Safe Roanoke about their free lead abatement program:


Free!

The City of Roanoke’s Lead Safe Roanoke Program performs improvements to remove lead-based paint hazards from owner-occupied and rental homes. These improvements may include new windows, gutters, paint, and much more!

Lead-based paint poisoning is harmful to both children and adults; however, children are especially at risk for lead poisoning. Therefore, if you meet all of the requirements below you are encouraged to take part in this exciting and FREE program:

  • Your house must have been built before 1978.
  • You must have a child under the age of 6 years living in or frequently visiting the home.
  • You must meet income guidelines.

 

Call 540-853-5682 today to see if you qualify or visit us at

www.roanokeva.gov/leadsafe

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Smog and Blood Pressure

U.S. News and World Report reports that there are increasing connections between smog – the type of pollution we deal with most in the Roanoke Valley – and high blood pressure.  Meaning it’s not just your lungs that are struggling when it gets hazy outside – your heart may be working harder as well:

From the article:

In the short term, he noted, a few days of increased air pollution could lead to more emergency hospital visits due to temporary spikes in blood pressure. In the long term, those living with consistently high levels of air pollution could end up with chronically high blood pressure.

High blood pressure is a key risk factor for stroke and heart disease, the number one cause of death worldwide. And high blood pressure itself is associated with about 17 percent of fatalities globally, the study authors pointed out.

It is urgent to take more actions to protect our environment and clean the air quality,” said Liu.

Follow the link above for the full article.

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Air Quality Data Updated for June

June air quality data has been updated for the Roanoke Valley.  Find the current spreadsheet here.

AQI-201606

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Code Yellow Air Quality Forecast

Via Virginia DEQ:

Air quality forecasts for June 14, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Kristen Stumpf, (804) 698-4414 or Mike Kiss, (804) 698-4460

Air quality forecasts for June 14, 2016

More detailed information is available on the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality web site at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/AirQualityForecasting.aspx

Hampton Roads
Color Code: Yellow – Moderate air quality
Primary Pollutant: Ozone

Richmond
Color Code: Yellow – Moderate air quality
Primary Pollutant: Ozone

Roanoke
Color Code: Yellow – Moderate air quality
Primary Pollutant: Ozone

Winchester
Color Code: Green – Good air quality
Primary Pollutant: Ozone

Health Information
Code Orange: Active children, teenagers, adults, and people with heart or lung disease (including asthma) should limit or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities.

Code Red: Active children, teenagers, and adults should limit or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities. People unusually sensitive to air pollution, especially those with heart or lung disease (including asthma), should avoid strenuous outdoor activities.

Code Purple: Active children, teenagers, and adults should avoid prolonged strenuous outdoor activities. People unusually sensitive to air pollution, especially those with heart or lung disease (including asthma), and older adults should avoid all outdoor strenuous activities.

High air pollution levels can impair breathing, cause lung damage, coughing and eye irritation and put extra strain on the heart. Air pollution also can aggravate asthma, bronchitis or emphysema.

Kristen Stumpf
Meteorologist
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
Phone: (804) 698-4414
Work Email: Kristen.Stumpf@deq.virginia.gov
Air Quality Forecast Webpage:
http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/AirQualityForecasting.aspx
Office of Air Quality Assessments Webpage:
http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/AirQualityAssessments.aspx

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High Pollen Alert for Roanoke

Weather.com has updated their website design and has provided some additional (or simply previously harder-to-find) pollen data.

The forecast for the Roanoke region for today and tomorrow is showing high levels of pollen – so keep that in mind if you suffer from allergies or allergy-triggered asthma.

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Take the Clean Commute Challenge

CCC_Times-Sticky-NoteOne of the things anyone can do to improve air quality in the Roanoke Valley is to take fewer vehicle trips.  Driving less means fewer emissions, fewer particulates, and fewer of the precursor pollutants that can lead to ozone pollution.

In fact, May is the traditional start of the summer ozone season, so it’s a particularly good time to start paying attention to what the community can do to keep the air clean.

The RIDE Solutions Clean Commute Challenge is one way to do this. Take the pledge to use an alternative mode at least ONE day in May – bike, walk, take the bus, carpool, or telecommute instead of driving alone – and you’ll not only help clean the valley’s air, but you’ll also earn chances to win prizes – including FloydFest passes!

Visit www.ridesolutions.org/cleancommute to take the pledge.

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Note on 4/19 Air Quality

I’m sharing this note from Mark Barker, who monitors our regional air quality data:

Roanoke Valley ozone was on the edge of an orange day on Tuesday.   According to EPA Daily AQI map we did get to AQI of 101 for an orange day.   However,  my calculation shows that we were just under at 100.   The last regs I read was that the average is NOT rounded up.  Will wait for the “official” word on Tuesday.

airquality.png

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Air Quality Data Updated for March

Our air quality data tracking sheet has been updated with March data.  You can find it here, with a summary below.

Of note:  The area’s particulate matter (PM 2.5) monitor has been out of commission since March 9th and has been sent to Richmond for repairs.

AQI-201603

 

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