What prompts an Air Quality Alert?

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 5:53 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Wednesday was the third consecutive day of an Air Quality Alert in Middle Tennessee. But what exactly prompts an Air Quality Alert? And what do conditions have to be like to be dangerous?

This week, the culprit is higher levels than usual of ground-level ozone, sparked by emissions from cars and other sources. It can make breathing difficult for susceptible groups, and it’s made worse by the extreme heat and humidity we’ve been feeling.

You may have noticed it looking somewhat hazy outside, too. That’s due to the high levels of smog and other air pollution. We’re able to see it because of how much sunlight we’ve had the last several days. And without much rain and hardly any clouds, you can expect to see that haziness until we get some.

Today’s Air Quality Alert is a Code Orange, meaning it’s unhealthy for certain people: primarily children, the elderly, and those with heart or lung problems like asthma. It doesn’t get hazardous until we’re in a code red or purple. That’s usually caused by things like extreme pollution or smoke from wildfires.

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