As heat bakes much of the eastern U.S., air quality is suffering in some of the nation’s largest cities.
Temperatures will climb into the triple digits across parts of Texas and the Southeast, while temperatures near 100 degrees will be common across the Plains and Midwest. Heat Advisories have been issued Tuesday from Kansas to Michigan, as well as parts of Indiana and Ohio.
All that heat is being caused by a huge area of high pressure that is dominating the weather pattern across the eastern two-thirds of the country. High pressure forces air to sink toward the surface and compress, which leads to increased heat.
That same type of weather pattern also keeps pollutants in the air closer to the surface instead of letting them rise and mix out of the atmosphere. Places where there are more cars on the road and little wind can experience poor air quality.
Air Quality Alerts have been issued Tuesday for major cities like Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas and Pittsburgh. Tennessee’s four largest cities – Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville – also have Air Quality Alerts in effect.
Air quality forecasts for the biggest cities show that ozone is the primary pollutant Tuesday, and the air will be unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as people with asthma. Those people should reduce the amount of time they spend outdoors.
Ozone is a colorless, toxic gas that occurs naturally in Earth’s atmosphere. When it is found in the upper atmosphere, between 10 and 30 miles above us, the gas is harmless and helps form a protective layer that protects us from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. However, when ozone is found near ground level, it can cause problems for people who breathe it.
You can help reduce ozone levels by driving less and putting off outdoor burns.
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