Air Quality Alert issued for central Ohio counties (2023)


An Air Quality Alert has been issued for some central Ohio counties because of wildfire smoke from Canada being funneled into central Ohio.

The pollution levels in Franklin, Fairfield, Delaware and Licking counties are expected to be unhealthy for sensitive groups. The last time central Ohio experienced unhealthy pollution levels for sensitive groups was in August 2010, according to the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.

A cold front will move across central Ohio, shifting winds to the north and northwest. The winds will carry dense smoke from eastern Canadian wildfires into the region, further increasing particle pollution levels.

With the mix of partly sunny skies and temperatures being in the low-80s, the air quality will be unhealthy for some groups.

On Wednesday, moderate northerly winds will persist. While these winds will aid dispersion, they will also continue to carry smoke into central Ohio. These conditions will result in high-moderate AQI levels.

What is the Air Quality Index?

The AQI scale is the Environmental Protection Agency’s index for reporting air quality and runs from 0 to 500. The higher the AQI value, the greater the health concern.

When AQI levels reach above 100, air quality is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. The MORPC then issues an Air Quality Alert.

Tuesday’s rating on the Air Quality Index (AQI scale is 103 and the areas affected by the alert — Franklin, Delaware, Fairfield and Licking counties — is likely experience particle pollution levels that are unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Who is impacted?

Active children, the elderly, and people with asthma and COPD are more likely to suffer an increase in the number and severity of symptoms during an Air Quality Alert.

To decrease the potential for health issues, sensitive groups are urged to limit their outdoor activity or plan outdoor activities for the morning. Those who are experiencing breathing difficulties should consult their doctor.

What actions should you take?

--On Air Quality Alert days, MORPC recommends taking actions to improve air quality. The majority of particle pollution levels come from vehicle emissions and burning activity.
--Explore different commute options such as carpooling.
--Turn off your engine instead of idling your vehicle to cut down on vehicle emissions.
--Avoid burning wood, leaves, and other materials on Alert days and learn more about best wood burning practices.
--Avoid mowing your lawn or using other gas-powered lawn equipment on an Air Quality Alert Day. ---Longer grass in your yard is good for the air and water quality.


Let's get back to the weather alert for the air quality we are experiencing right now on the left of your screen, you're, seeing a live, look from our 10TV Skyview camera.

You can see why we're having an error alert right now this afternoon.

That hay is just sitting right over the city of Columbus.

Let's check in now with Dr Tim, meteorologist, Russ cruzo, and for Maddie Kirker.

You can barely see it out there.

You can barely see the skyline, it's not as dense as fog, but you can definitely tell there's something going on in the atmosphere for us.

You know a lot of times, even on really hot days, we'll get air quality alerts just because the air is so stagnant and especially on hot days.

You get a lot of rising air, a lot of mixing.

Well, it's not as hot, but we do have a lot of pollutants near the Wildfire smoke so put together a quick little forecast for you just to show you how the air quality may be changing as we head into today, and this is important because if you do have plans you want to get outside and you think you might be in that sensitive group where you do or maybe have respiratory issues.

You want to make sure that you're going out when it's the best time to, and it's looking like, typically with just the typical day of the diurnal cycle.

When we get to our warmest that's when we have the most mixing going on and going into the afternoon and evening, we're anticipating that still looking like it's going to be unhealthy for some and then as we head into the late afternoon into the evening, still looking at that healthy for unhealthy for some moderate levels as well.

But as we head into the evening with the sunset as things start to cool off, we should start to see the air quality improve a little bit but I'm still thinking.

Of course, with this air quality alert that we have in for the course of the day, it's something you definitely want to still keep in mind going into the day on Wednesday, where it looks like we will see some improvement, but we could very well see another issuance for an air quality alert and again this is unhealthy for some.

So some things you can do is you can keep your windows closed limit your outdoor activities outside as well and for longer durations? If you want to be outside working on, maybe some outdoor projects take lots of breaks, go inside and make sure that you're taking care of yourself as well, so something that we're going to be keeping a close eye on? Not only that pollen's pretty high, we'll talk about that as well, and we might have a few storms coming to town as we head into this afternoon, we're staying quiet right now with the haziness in the sky.

We also have some clouds that are moving in so I haven't really seen a whole lot of changes with the forecast as far as the rain, but temperature wise slowly, but surely we're warming up 76 here in Columbus, already 80 in Delaware still into the low 70s to the north and east, where we are seeing a little more cloud coverage start to Nestle in you can see that on satellite and radar no green popping up, though so we're staying dry for now.

So the air quality.

That's what we're going to be dealing with through much of the afternoon and evening.

But then, as we head into this afternoon, we'll see some of these pop-up showers and maybe even a few rumbles of thunder come through as we head into the early part of the night after six seven o'clock, we'll probably just have a few leftover showers going into the early part of the night and again starting to clear out winds still out of the North.

So, with this front, coming through yeah, we will see some improvements, but unfortunately we are looking at moderate to high levels for our grasses and weed and not weeds, but grasses and tree pollen rather, and that's going to be something that's going to be bothersome as well, so kind of dealing with the smoke dealing with the pollen, something that's definitely going to be.

Bothering you and looking at your your smoke forecast, you can see that we are going to be looking at some low levels of smoke.

That's still going to be pushing through going into the day on Wednesday and then as we head into Thursday.

That's when things should start to really improve for us, especially for our air quality.

So something we'll be waiting and seeing if we happen to see another air quality alert, you'll be the first to know and again we are going to see temperatures cool off quite a bit and things are going to be staying nice and dry.

But we could really use the rain we're going to be closing in on three weeks if we don't see any precipitation for us as we head into the end of the day today from the spotty showers and storms.

This evening, it's going to be close to three weeks because we're not looking at really any potential for widespread precipitation, not until Sunday.

So hopefully we can continue to see that hold true in the forecast and then we're warming right back up with perhaps more upper 80s near 90 degree weather heading into late next week.


Why do I keep getting air quality alerts? ›

Ground-Level Ozone – High-levels of ground-level ozone are frequently the cause of air quality alerts. Ground-level ozone is created by pollutants such as car exhaust and industrial fumes mixing with oxygen. This most often happens on hot, but dry sunny days with a light breeze.

How do I get rid of air quality alerts? ›

To turn off AQI alerts from appearing on your Pixel's home screen, you need to navigate to Google Assistant settings from the Google app. From there, select At a Glance, and you should see the "Air Quality" toggle located between the "Weather" and "Alerts" options (via 9to5Google).

How concerned should I be about air quality? ›

AQI values at or below 100 are generally thought of as satisfactory. When AQI values are above 100, air quality is considered to be unhealthy—at first for certain sensitive groups of people, then for everyone as AQI values increase.

What does an air quality notification mean? ›

Air quality alerts mirror much of what we learned throughout our childhood: green means go, yellow or orange means slow down and red tells us to stop. When a code red air quality alert is sent out, that means air pollution concentrations are unhealthy for the general population and outdoor activity should be avoided.

Should I stay inside during air quality alert? ›

The most important thing you can do is stay indoors as much as possible, the experts note. This advice applies to everyone but especially to individuals with preexisting lung diseases such as asthma, COPD and post-COVID respiratory conditions, says Crystal.

Can I run during an air quality alert? ›

Generally, it's best to exercise indoors if the AQI is orange or worse, rated above 100. For vulnerable people, including pregnant women, people with asthma, lung or heart conditions, and seniors, exercising indoors is also best for moderate air quality days (with an AQI of 51 to 100).

Can I have my window AC on during air quality alert? ›

Because window units may directly pull air from outside your home, they could introduce wildfire smoke into your spaces with very little filtering capability compared to centralized AC systems.

Do masks help with poor air quality? ›

N95 masks don't just protect against COVID, they also protect against pollution. According to Women's Health, those higher-quality masks can filter out the small particles associated with pollution.

Can you use window air conditioner during air quality alert? ›

If you have a window air conditioner, close the outdoor air damper. If you cannot close the damper, do not use the window air conditioner. Make sure that the seal between the air conditioner and the window is as tight as possible.

Why does Ohio have bad air quality? ›

With its extremely large and dense population, coupled with the high amount of industry taking place, Ohio is subject to air pollution issues, that it sees reflected in the PM2.

Should I go outside if the air quality is bad? ›

People should avoid strenuous outdoor activities, reduce what time is spent outdoors or reschedule activities for a future date when it is less hazardous to breathe outdoor air. Continue to check your local air quality index.

How do you know if air quality is affecting you? ›

Anyone who notices fatigue should take time off from overexerting in areas where air quality is bad. A very common symptom that many people have during times of poor air quality is headaches. The presence of elevated levels of chemicals can cause headaches to occur, sometimes to the point of disability in some people.

What happens if the air quality is really bad? ›

Air pollution also increases the risk of respiratory infections, heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer, and more severely affects people who are already ill.

Where has the worst air quality? ›

List of most-polluted cities by particulate matter concentration
1Saudi ArabiaDammam
49 more rows

Does air quality really matter? ›

Poor air quality reduces quality of life. Some air pollutants are irritants. Some smell bad. Some air pollutants can cause respiratory disease or even cancer.

What does unhealthy air quality on Iphone mean? ›

An AQI above 150 is listed as “unhealthy” for the general public. According to AirNow, “sensitive groups” include people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children and teenagers.

What does it mean when the weather app says the air is unhealthy? ›

When the AQI is red, it means the air is unhealthy. The general public may experience health problems, and people who are sensitive to air pollution may experience more serious effects. Sensitive groups should avoid prolonged time outside, while everyone else should reduce their time spent outdoors.

Will a mask help with air quality alert? ›

Does wearing a mask help with bad air quality? If you need to be outside, experts advise wearing a mask. N95 masks are the best option to reduce your exposure to pollutants, according to Lahita, but if you don't have those, surgical masks or even a scarf is better than nothing.

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