Air Quality Alerts issued across North Carolina

Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Air quality alerts issued across North Carolina
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The heat is taking its toll on people and affecting the air quality

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Hot summer days can take a toll on the body.

Just ask Lauren Bauer, "When we run around outside or even just walking to different blocks, it's exhausting and we feel dehydrated inside."

As intense sunlight beats down on our cities, it bakes sidewalks and streets. "You can start to feel pretty exhausted and stuff, pretty drained," Jeremy Rolow told ABC11.

The sweltering heat can provide a health risk for those with respiratory issues.

Meteorologist Liz Horton sees if it's hot enough outside to fry an egg

"The sensitive groups for air quality, particularly the ozone, are the elderly, young children, particularly if they are outdoors a lot, and anyone with a respiratory problem like asthma and emphysema," explained Tom Mather, a spokesperson for the NC Division of Air Quality.

Air Quality Alerts have been popping up across the state for days. On Monday, the North Carolina Division of Air Quality issued a "Code Orange" Action Day for unhealthy levels of ozone on the ground in Charlotte and the Triad. The heat combines with nitrous oxide and other chemicals to form an unhealthy cocktail of ozone made worse by heavy traffic.

"On hot sunny days it can react in the atmosphere to form ozone," Mather explained.

Forecasting the amount of ozone in the air can be difficult. Models look at temperature, humidity, solar radiation and wind to formulate a forecast. But good news for Triangle residents, our air may be better than cities to our west.

"We are closer to the coast, and a lot of times we get the benefit of sea breezes coming in this area from the ocean and higher humidity and more thunderstorms," Mather said.