The Department of Environmental Protection and its regional air quality partnerships forecast a Code Orange air quality action day for particle pollution on Saturday, December 12 and Sunday, December 13, for Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Northampton, and York counties, and for Saturday, December 12 for Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties.
On air quality action days, 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.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standardized air quality index uses colors to report daily air quality. Green signifies good; yellow means moderate; orange represents unhealthy pollution levels for sensitive people; and red warns of unhealthy pollution levels for all.
The air quality forecast predicts the weekend to be Code Orange for particle pollution. Particle pollution, a key component of smog, will remain elevated through the weekend as unseasonably warm air continues to build northward along the East Coast.
This warmer air, along with light winds at the surface, will create an inversion over the region. The inversion will help to reduce mixing, allowing particle pollution to rise.
To help keep the air healthy, residents and business are encouraged to voluntarily restrict certain pollution-producing activities by: Limiting the use of wood stoves in the overnight hours; Setting thermostats to a lower temperature; Carpooling or using public transportation; and Combining errands to reduce trips.
These forecasts are provided in conjunction with the Air Quality Partnership of the Delaware Valley, the Southwest Pennsylvania Air Quality Partnership, the Lehigh Valley/Berks Air Quality Partnership and the Susquehanna Valley Air Quality Partnership.For more information, visit DEP’s Air Quality Partnership webpage.