Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Will Resume Ozone Air Quality Forecasts via E-mail on Monday, April 9th

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Will Resume Ozone Air Quality Forecasts via E-mail on Monday, April 9th

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will resume ground-level ozone air quality forecasts in addition to the currently-issued particle pollution forecasts via e-mail on Monday, April 9th. The ozone forecasts will continue until mid-to-late September. Air quality forecasts will be issued for Roanoke, Hampton Roads, Winchester and Richmond. Forecasts will be issued through mid-to-late September. If you know someone else who would like to receive these forecasts, please have them sign up to receive the daily forecasts and/or air quality health alerts at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/ConnectWithDEQ/NewsFeeds.aspx. Northern Virginia air quality forecasts are sent out from Clean Air Partners through EnviroFlash via http://www.cleanairpartners.net/airalert.cfm.

DEQ will issue forecasts for the following day by 3:10 pm EDT. An Air Quality Health Advisory will be issued for any region of Virginia where unhealthy levels occur. Color-coded air quality forecasts and the current Air Quality Index (AQI) for Roanoke, Hampton Roads, Winchester, Richmond and Northern Virginia area will be available on the DEQ web site at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/AirQualityForecasting.aspx. Air quality forecasts are also available via an RSS feed at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/lists/?action=rss_list&id=16 and via the EPA AIRNow web site at http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.local_state&stateid=48&tab=0. Additionally, air quality health alerts are available via an RSS feed at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/lists/?action=rss_list&id=15. Generally, our qualitative forecast accuracy is around 80 percent correct in each location.

The AQI may peak well after 6:00 pm in most areas when ozone is the dominant pollutant. It may peak overnight or in the early morning hours in the Shenandoah National Park. The particle pollution AQI is usually higher than the ozone AQI in the morning hours due to the diurnal pattern of ozone formation. Particle pollution levels may stay elevated all day and/or night whereas ozone levels peak in the afternoon and early evening hours. Animated air quality maps for “North Carolina/Virginia” will be found at http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.local_state&stateid=48&tab=0. These maps are updated hourly. Maps such as these are also available from weather service data providers such as WSI, Weather Central Inc., and others for on-air use. Television stations are urged to use the air quality maps regularly in conjunction with the DEQ air quality forecasts to inform the public about daily air quality in their area.

DEQ uses a color-code forecast scheme:

Code Green indicates good air quality is expected the following day with either PM2.5 or ozone in the healthy range. Air quality is considered satisfactory with little or no risk.
Code Yellow indicates moderate air quality is expected the following day with either PM2.5 or ozone in the moderate range. Unusually sensitive people should consider limiting or rescheduling strenuous outdoor activities.
Please note: An Air Quality Action Day will begin at the Code Orange level. A Code Orange Air Quality Action Day indicates unhealthy-for-sensitive-groups air quality is expected the following day. Active children and adults and people with cardio or respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema should limit or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities.
A Code Red Air Quality Action Day indicates unhealthy air quality is expected the following day. Active children and adults, and people with cardio or respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis or emphysema should avoid prolonged strenuous outdoor activities. Everyone else, especially children, should limit prolonged strenuous outdoor activities.
A Code Purple Air Quality Action Day indicates very unhealthy air quality is expected the following day. Active children and adults, people unusually sensitive to air pollution, especially those with heart or lung disease (including asthma), and older adults should avoid all outdoor strenuous activities. Everyone else should limit strenuous outdoor activities.

If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact Ann Regn, Director, DEQ Public Information and Outreach, at Ann.Regn@deq.virginia.gov or (804) 698-4442, Mike Kiss, DEQ Meteorologist at Michael.Kiss@deq.virginia.gov or (804) 698-4460, Kristen Stumpf, DEQ Meteorologist at Kristen.Stumpf@deq.virginia.gov or (804) 698-4414, or me, Dan Salkovitz, DEQ Meteorologist at Daniel.Salkovitz@deq.virginia.gov or (804) 698-4404 (usually 6:30 am-3:15 pm).

Dan Salkovitz
Meteorologist
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
Mailing address: P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA 23218
Street address: 1105 E. Main St., 22nd Floor, Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: (804) 698-4404 Fax: (804) 698-4510
Phone toll-free in Virginia: (1-800) 592-5482 ext. 4404
Work e-mail: Daniel.Salkovitz@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

DEQ mailing lists are an opt-in service from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. If you have received this message in error, or would like to be removed from or added to any of our mailing lists, you can change your subscription status on our website at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/ConnectWithDEQ/NewsFeeds.aspx.
You can read the archives for this list online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/lists/?action=show_list&id=15.
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Attend the Livable Roanoke Valley summit

The Partnership for a Livable Roanoke Valley is a coalition of organizations across the region working together to support a broad range of initiatives that make the Roanoke Valley a better place to live – including protecting our air quality and improving community health.  The upcoming summit is a good opportunity to learn the progress that Livable Roanoke has made since its inception.

Join the Partnership for a Livable Roanoke Valley (PLRV) Friday, March 30th to gauge our progress on the Livable Roanoke Valley Plan. We will have speakers who will be highlighting programs and successes related to the plan. We will also engage participants in a discussion of future goals and priorities for the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany region.

In 2012 the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission (RVARC) and the Council of Community Services (CCS) worked cooperatively to create the PLRV and developed the Livable Roanoke Valley Plan.

The PLRV through its planning process pursued a straight-forward approach to understanding and addressing key issues affecting the region. More than 60 partner organizations, and over 1,200 citizens participated in the planning process with the goal of gaining a clearer picture of our region’s values, vision, and priorities. Over a two-year period, the Partnership held several outreach events. As a result of these outreach events, the Partnership developed 11 strategic initiatives to achieve goals in the areas of economic development, workforce development, health, and natural assets.
We want to make sure you are aware of the progress that the PLRV is making across our goal areas. The current four goal areas are:
  • Economic Development: Create jobs, increase incomes, and grow businesses to improve the quality of life for all residents in the Roanoke Region.
  • Workforce Development: Provide access to job training and educational advancement by fostering a culture of lifelong learning for people of all ages.
  • Healthy Roanoke Valley: Mobilize community resources to improve access to care, coordination of services, and promote culture of wellness.
  • Natural Assets: Work collaboratively to preserve the historic, cultural, and natural assets of the region.
You can register for the summit by visiting this link.

Continue reading

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Air Quality Updates for February 2018

We’ve updated our air quality tracker through February 2018.

AQI-2018

Visit our Air Quality page for more information on ozone and particulate matter pollution in the Roanoke Valley.

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Final Air Quality Report for 2017

Our air quality monitor volunteer, Mark Barker with the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, has provided the final air quality numbers for 2017:

AQI-2017Final

You can visit our Air Quality page for a complete look at the region’s air quality performance.

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Flu Season Tips from Carilion Clinic

We wanted to pass along some tips from Carilion Clinic since we are deep into flu season.  It’s especially important to be vigilant since early reports are showing that this year’s flu is outpacing previous years, according to CNN.

Click the Flu vs You image below for more information:

you-vs-flu

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New VA Regulations to Limit Carbon Emissions

Check out this article from the Richmond Times Dispatch:

The Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board on Thursday unanimously approved a draft regulation to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and link Virginia to a carbon-trading network of nine other states….

If the rule is adopted, Virginia would become the 10th state to trade carbon allowances through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the 12th state to impose carbon pricing regulations on the power sector, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group in Arlington.

While the GRVAAQC doesn’t explicitly address carbon emissions, we recognize that the kinds of air pollution that have more local impacts often have the same source – power plant stacks and automobile tailpipes, for example – as carbon emissions.  Efforts to reduce one generally reduce the other.  Given that most of Virginia’s power is still generated from goal, and the local particulate and related emissions from the burning of coal are of significant concern when it comes to lung health, we will be interested to see how this regulation proceeds and the potential impact on overall cleaner air/

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Climate Change and Health

Coalition member Sally Southard had a good piece on the connection between climate change and health in a recent Roanoke Times.

[A recent study] paints a grim picture of a future without action to combat climate change, with alarming consequences for public health, including worsened air quality from rising temperatures, ozone pollution and wildfires; symptoms of lung disease and other chronic illnesses; higher risk of heatstroke and heat exhaustion; new threats of food- and waterborne diseases; and increased hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease.

Click here to read the full piece.

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Tomorrow: Health and Environment Forum

Great event tomorrow 5:30 pm at VT Carilion School of Medicine – health impacts of energy choices in our region. First, how renewables compare to fossil fuels. Then focus on impacts of natural gas pipelines on water and human health, including stress that appears to have already caused significant damage along the route. See this morning’s Roanoke Times for more http://www.roanoke.com/business/news/franklin_county/forum-to-examine-pipeline-health-impacts/article_20a85559-3a41-54d2-a6d9-2b86c1902ed0.html

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Register for the 27th Annual RNS Educational Conference

Our coalition is pleased to be working with the Respiratory Nursing Society to co-host this year’s 27th Annual Educational Conference.  This is great opportunity to receive continuing education in the realms of asthma, COPD, and more.

Early-bird registration is over but there is still time to be a part of the conference.  View the full agenda and complete registration form here.

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Air Quality Spreadsheet Updated for August

AQI-201708

Some notes from Mark Barker, our intrepid air quality data analyst:

Highlights

  • 6 Yellow Moderate Ozone days and 2 Yellow Moderate Ozone days in July.
  • For the most part, the yellow days were just in the Moderate zone, just over the Green, good threshold.  Not bad considering all those hot days.
  • For the year so far, only 13 yellow ozone days and 8 yellow PM 2.5 days.
  • It has been over 5 years since the Roanoke Valley has registered an Orange, Unhealthy AQI for Ozone.
  • It has been over 9 years since the Roanoke Valley has registered an Orange, Unhealthy AQI for PM 2.5.
  • (Note:  Above 2 statements are based on the final 8 hour ozone and 24 hour PM 2.5 averages at the end of the day.  EPA Air Now may indicate brief Orange AQI hourly readings based on their Air Now calculations.)

Last Roanoke Valley Orange, Unhealthy AQI

  • PM 2.5: June 13, 2008  AQI 141   Concentration 59.7 – 60.2
  • Ozone: June 29, 2012  AQI 104   Concentration 77
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