News

Triangle Air Awareness Kicks off Ozone Forecast Season


Research Triangle Region, N.C. – Triangle Air Awareness kicked off ozone forecast season May 6 with an event for regional business and community leaders at the Research Triangle Park Foundation headquarters.

Keynote speaker Nina Szlosberg-Landis, member of the N.C. Department of Transportation’s board of directors and chair of its environmental planning and policy committee, discussed the region’s projected growth and how best to meet the transportation demands that growth will bring while mitigating increased air pollution from the additional cars.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency specialist Donna Rogers briefed attendees on the health effects of poor air quality and how to protect themselves from it, the code used to measure air quality and what actions can be taken to improve the region’s air quality.

Ozone forecast season began April 1 and continues through Sept. 30. During that time, the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources publishes daily ozone forecasts to inform the community about the region’s air quality.

“Meteorologists at the N.C. Division of Air Quality forecast a normal ozone season for the Research Triangle Region this summer that will end in mid-August, which is early for our region,” said Elaine Loyack, program coordinator for Triangle Air Awareness, a partnership of the Division of Air Quality and the Research Triangle Regional Partnership.

A normal ozone season for the region averages 10 ozone action, or Code Orange, days, when the air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as children, older adults and those with heart or lung diseases, such as asthma.

“It has been five years since our last Code Red, or unhealthy, day in the region, which shows that regional residents are taking actions to reduce the amount of toxins released into our air,” Loyack said. Still, smoke from wildfires burning in Dare and Hyde counties elevated particle pollution in the air to Code Orange on May 10-11, early in the season.

Regional residents can monitor ozone forecasts and get information on actions they can take to help improve regional air quality at the Triangle Air Awareness Web site, www.triangleairawareness.org, or the N.C. Division of Air Quality Web site, www.ncair.org. To receive daily forecasts or alerts by e-mail, register at www.enviroflash.info.

Triangle Air Awareness offers its Web site and a range of activities to help regional residents learn about and access information on ways to reduce air pollution. For more information, visit www.triangleairawareness.org or contact Loyack at Elaine.Loyack@ncdenr.gov or (919) 715-7647.