PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With the hot and humid weather, the region has already seen two air quality action days this week; but health officials say cloud cover is keeping us in the clear today.

Most Air Quality Action Days are called on hot, muggy days when there is little wind, but lots of sunlight.

“For ozone to form in the atmosphere, and it is in the atmosphere, not a direct emission from a pollution source, you have to have heat and sunlight,” said Guillermo Cole, of the Allegheny County Health Department. “There is photo chemical reactions that form ozone.”

That ozone is formed from emissions from various sources like industrial factories and everyday activities like driving.

It’s something as simple as cloud cover that determines if a meteorologist from the Department of Environmental Services makes the call.

“If you have a lot of cloud cover, like we do today, you are not going to get that same degree of action of ozone,” said Cole. “So, that’s why when it is a cloudy day and it’s hot, it may not be an Air Quality Action Day.

Today is not, but Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were. On those kinds of days, there are some things we can all do to help clear the air.

“Refrain from driving, take public transportation. Refrain from refueling your vehicle, refuel later in the day when it’s less likely to have an impact on ozone levels,” Cole said. “Don’t mow the lawn.”

Also, if you have health issues like lung or heart problems, or for young children or the elderly, health officials say stay inside on Air Quality Action Days.

Allegheny County Health Department
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