The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has issued a Code Orange Air Quality Action Day for ozone for Thursday, May 20, 2021, in the southcentral counties of Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York, and the Lehigh Valley-Berks Area which includes the counties of Berks, Lehigh, and Northampton.
A combination of mostly sunny skies, light winds, and high temperatures in the mid to upper 80s, associated with a strong ridge of high pressure, will likely contribute to 8-hour average concentrations of ozone in the Code Orange range on Thursday.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index provides standardized color codes for forecasting and reporting daily air quality. Green signifies good air quality; Yellow means moderate air quality; Orange represents unhealthy pollution levels for sensitive groups of people; and Red warns of unhealthy pollution levels for all.
An Air Quality Action Day is issued when the AQI is forecasted to be Code Orange or higher. On an Air Quality Action Day, young children, the elderly, and those with respiratory problems, such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis, are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and should limit outdoor activities.
Residents and businesses within the Air Quality Action Day areas are strongly encouraged to voluntarily help reduce air pollution by:
Conserving electricity by setting air conditioning to a higher temperature;
Combining errands to reduce vehicle trips; Limiting engine idling; and
Refueling cars and trucks after dusk.