AQI

The Air Quality Index measurements for Pinal County at the time of publication. Air quality measurements and recommendations are subject to change. 

FLORENCE — An ozone high pollution advisory will be in effect Wednesday in Pinal County due to pollution caused by current climate effects and warming temperatures.

The advisory came from Pinal County’s Air Quality Department, which is responsible for analyzing the air quality all over the county. Air Quality Manager Scott DiBiase explained that a high pollution advisory is issued when ozone concentrations exceed the federal health standard, to help warn people to take precautions.

“Pinal County Air Quality issues Ozone Health Watches to notify those sensitive to ozone that levels may be higher than usual so that they can limit outdoor activity as appropriate,” Dibiase said in an email. “In this case, the air pollution forecast anticipates elevated concentrations of ozone in the northeastern portion of Pinal County.”

Air quality levels are projected to be unhealthy for sensitive groups in Apache Junction and Queen Valley, both of which are the worst in Pinal County for air pollution in the coming days. Casa Grande and Pinal Air Park are predicted to have the best air quality in the county for the next few days, while Hidden Valley remains in the upper moderate range for air pollution.

When a high pollution advisory is in effect, those who have respiratory or heart issues should stay indoors and limit outdoor activities during the afternoons and evenings. With stay-at-home orders, that’s a pretty easy thing to accomplish. But it begs the question, what is causing the pollution if everyone is inside?

In this case, air pollution has less to do with human activities and more to do with the time of year.

“Elevated ozone occurs more frequently during the late spring and summer season due to several factors including more abundant sunlight — longer days, warmer temperatures and the influence of meteorological conditions such as high-pressure systems which lead to more stagnant atmospheric conditions,” DiBiase said.

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Katie Sawyer covers Maricopa and the surrounding area for PinalCentral, including city, education, business, crime and more. She can be reached at ksawyer@pinalcentral.com.

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