East Valley Commuters Into Phoenix Be Aware

Phoenix commuters

By Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and San Tan Times Staff

It has been an active period for air quality lately! Phoenix exceeded the ozone health standard Saturday at six monitors, with the highest values found across the northeast portion of the Valley. ADEQ is also closely watching several fires burning in the state that could impact air quality in Phoenix over the next several days.

With east-southeast winds in the forecast Monday, we may see some smoke move into the east/northeast Valley during the day/evening. And finally, smoke from the Coldwater Fire (located south of Clints Well) is currently moving off the rim toward the southwest. This smoke will likely move over the northern portion of the Valley this morning/afternoon before shifting back up toward the west-northwest. Once again, ADEQ will be closely monitoring all wildfire activity that could potentially impact air quality in Phoenix. 

Monday may become a bit more interesting as a cold front dropping southward through New Mexico will set-up a southeasterly wind pattern, with forecast winds to be in the 10-15mph. Forecasting this to drop ozone values slightly; however, thinking the winds will be a little later in the afternoon, which will mean ozone concentrations will still have time to quickly rise in the early afternoon. 

As the cold front moves away from the area, and high pressure continues to strengthen, winds will weaken on Tuesday and shift back to being out of the southwest. As a result, forecasting ozone to rise further, meaning an Ozone High Pollution Advisory will be possible.

ADEQ is issuing a High Pollution Advisory for ozone effective June 10 in the Phoenix area.

The ADEQ is issuing a High Pollution Advisory (HPA) for ozone effective June 10, 2019 in the Phoenix area. ADEQ recommends that people limit outdoor activity while the HPA is in effect, especially children and adults with respiratory problems.

Ground level ozone forms when two types of pollutants—volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides — react in sunlight. These pollutants come primarily from automobiles, but also from other sources including industries, power plants and products, such as solvents and paints. Generally, the highest levels of ozone occur in the afternoon.

Health Impacts

People most vulnerable to the impacts of air pollution include children, older adults, adults exercising outdoors, people with heart or lung disease and those suffering from asthma and bronchitis. Exposure can increase the number and severity of asthma attacks, cause or aggravate bronchitis or other lung disease and reduce the body’s ability to fight infection. Symptoms may include itchy eyes, nose, and throat, wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain and upper respiratory issues.

Please help reduce ozone by doing one or more of the following:

  • Drive as little as possible, carpool, use public transit or telecommute
  • Re-fuel your vehicle in the evening
  • Avoid waiting in long drive-thru lines, for example, at coffee shops, fast-food restaurants or banks – park your car and go inside
  • Use low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) or water-based paints, stains, finishes and paint strippers – delay big painting projects
  • Make sure containers of household cleaners, garage and yard chemicals and other solvents are sealed properly to prevent vapors from evaporating into the air