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Category 6 has moved! See the latest from Dr. Jeff Masters and Bob Henson here.

Air Quality Awareness Days

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 8:41 PM GMT on June 30, 2005

The EPA has designated June 29 - July 1, "Air Quality Awareness Days". This designation is well-timed--the past two weeks have seen an unusual number of very hot days with light winds across large areas of the U.S. This, combined with June's high levels of UV light (which is needed to drive the chemical reactions that make smog), have conspired to produce some of the highest levels of air pollution across the U.S. in many years. Ground level ozone, the primary pollutant of concern in the summer, has been a particular problem. The EPA standard for ozone pollution is 80 ppb for an 8-hour period. If three or more violations of this standard occur in a year, the offending city must take action to reduce emissions or pay fines. There are a lot of cities that will be paying big bucks to reduce emissions, thanks to this June's hot weather. A sampling of who's been violating can be seen in the animation below. Everywhere the image is orange (AQI greater than 100), is an ozone air quality violation.

Chicago has had multiple sampling sites violate the ozone standard on 7 consecutive days.

Houston or Dallas (or both) have exceeded the ozone standard nearly every day the past week, with Houston posting a very unhealthy 103 ppb over an 8-hour period on June 28.

Denver recorded ozone violations at 2 locations on June 18.

California continues to lead the U.S. in air quality violations. If we take a look at the list of the 10 U.S. cities with the most ozone air pollution violations for 2004, five of the top seven cities are in California:

Number of 2004
City ozone violations
Bakersfield,CA 103
Riverside, CA 88
Los Angeles, CA 65
Houston, TX 37
Sacramento, CA 25
Fresno, CA 23
Dallas, TX 20
Ventura, CA 17
Ft. Worth, TX 15
Orange County, CA 12

As part of Air Quality Awareness Days, the EPA urges everyone to be more aware of the types of air pollution their area encounters. They also have suggestions on what to do to protect your health during a high pollution event, and how you can cut down our contribution to air pollution levels. I highly recommend the EPA Airnow web site for those interested to learn more.

The good news is that overall, we have been making progress on reducing ozone pollution in the U.S. Nationally, 2003 levels were 9% lower than 1990 levels and 21% lower than 1980 levels. However, these statistics were unadjusted to reflect variations in meteorology, and the real ozone improvements are less than this. Certainly, this summer's hot weather will skew the statistics, perhaps so far as to make it so no net progress in ozone levels may be seen when compared to 10 years ago.

Dr. Jeff Masters
Hazy, Smoggy, Sunset
Hazy, Smoggy, Sunset
Hazy Smoggy Sunset over Lincoln Hills Golf Course in Birmingham, Michigan. Temps were in the mid 90's again with very high humidity

Air and Water Pollution

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

In southern and eastern Ontario (roughly south and east of a cyyb/cybn line), they are also facing similar problems if not worse. The amount of smog days is increasing a lot in this area. Most of that, though, has been to them now monitoring what we in the US have been doing for years. But from what I understand, most of the smog up here is actually imported from the Ohio Valley while the rest has been to an explosion in the population in the Golden Horseshoe (Niagara to Trenton around Lake Ontario).
I was thrilled to move from Houston to Tallahassee. The air quality is so much better here. Houston has alot of polluting energy plants that have been "grandfathered" from new regulation. It makes for cheap energy and dirty air.
This is really excellent - I sometimes can't believe that people in Houston don't associate our horrible pollution with all the refineries and chemicals pumped into our air day and night - thanks for this info Dr. Masters
alec just check the coord out in the last advisory on gert...it move 3/10 to the n and 4/10 to the west....almost a due nw heading...it definitely has a more northerly component to it now..you are in for a long night because gert will stall...for the ones that want my opinion just let me know i will post what i think gert will do...my other post about gert is on the other blog..
Stormtop I am interested in what you think Gert is going to do. ??
why is the June30 blog up
looks like the blog software is FUBAR
Im totally perplexed why we just get shot back and forth on these blogs. Like this June30 blog is so outdated. Whoever is doing this please stop it.
Why do you think storms like this wobble stormtop?
The CIA is using the Patriot Act to open a time portal thru this website to transport us all to june 30th.....relax...everything that you thought has happened since then is just a dream,...just a dream....just a dream...
11. Alec
Gert's moving wnw on the 2 pm advisory, about to hit mexico. dont think itll become a hurricane
12. Alec
Yeah i agree wildhorse. whats next are they going to peek in our windows and watch everything we do?
13. Alec
turtlehurricane's probably being directed to the jan 30 1991 blog archive . Their trying to scatter us.
14. Alec
Jeff masters, get us back to the last post please this is outdated.
I guess the readily available wildlife model RAWM)was correct again. It hasn't rained here all day in spite of Cat 3 hurricane Gert wiping us out...oh, wait, that's right, it is going into Mexico as a poorly defined tropical storm/depression....my mistake
16. Alec
I think someone is trying to cut us off.
ok isobar here is my forecast for gert....i think gert will stall due to the mountains in mexico and there is nothing to push her into the coast for enough inland..i think the steering currents are very weak in that area of the gulf plus pressures are rising on the mexican coasts....i think gert will sit off in the bay of campecehe for at least 48 hours until the trough which is now moving into the northern us comes down and gert will begin a n or nne move towards the central and ne gulf coast....i think the strength of gert will attain hurricane force possibly a cat 3 because of the water temps are in the 90s in the bay of campeche..i think also gert will move erratically down there due to the high that is over mexico and nothing right now to the east of gert to push her in to the mexican coast.this will be a storm for the central and ne gulf sometime on late thurs night or friday moring...the water vapor charts show a very weak and i emphasize a very weak high to the east of gert which will do nothing to her ..there will be no shear and nothing in gerts way to keep her from strengthing into a major hurricane...so not pulling any punches and telling it like i see it i think that gert will become a force to deal with from if i had to pick and area since i dont use cones between lafayette and cedar key fla...also isobar expect gert to stall in the next 2 advisories..she is already showing a more north component to it and slowing down..i have her moving at 5mph right now thats me the nhc has it at 10mph i believe...that is my forecast on gert she will be here for a while yet dont expect a landfall tonight..maybe a more sse or s move back into the bay of campeche...one more thing they still have the low on the yucatan penn that is influencing gert to move more s or sse....well thats my forecast if you want to ask questions ill be glad to answer isobar......
18. Alec
far enough inland? you mean its going to sit close to the coast a little bit inland? i thought systems developed when they were sitting over water. How does a high cause gert to move erratically Stormtop?
19. Alec
I keep getting switched back and forth from the new jul24 blog and this jun30 blog. Whoever is causing it STOP!!!!
20. Alec
Jeff, please fix this problem its not fun when this site is scattering everyone and kicking us off.
21. Alec
where is everyone? oh yeah, probably scattered about these zillion files.
alec i said the steering currents are very weak in that part of the gulf i didnt say anything about a high causing gert to move erratically...gert is a tropical storm the mountains and the high over mexico will block her and the low to the south of her shown clearly in the water vapor charts will cause gert to move erratically and my thinking is s or sse...ok i hope i answered your question...

alec why not give your opinion now on gert.. you are waiting for more info from the nhc i suppose you wont go out on a limb...ok i understand that..
25. Alec
why do factors such as described above contribute to this storm's path and what force causes a hurricane to spin stormtop? Interested in your opinion.
26. Alec
I gave my opinion on this already. I want to hear your explanations so i can see where you're coming from.
DiD anyone take a look at the FSU track forecast?

no alec i want your opinion first and i will tell you or perhaps you dont understand water vapor charts are how to read them......does anyone else here have a problem what i posted about gert besides you dont agree....let me know..
29. Alec
I already gave my opinion stormtop. AGAIN, i tried explaining to you my feelings about it. I already know you like water vapor charts. I was wondering if you use anything else to forecast these things.
yes fl pan im interested what did it say in the latest run about gert...please post it..
31. Alec
I dont understand them? hey i thought you said bickering was off! im trying to reasonably get your opinion and you're adamant about it.
yes alec i use sat loops and the enviromental conditions that are going on around the storm...exp shear troughs water pockets ect....
33. Alec
I saw the superensemble forecast. That model's in the experimental and priming phase as their building it at FSU.
34. Alec
What environmental conditions stormtop? be more specific please.
why do the blogs keep on messing up?
Go to the link below and view the FSU forecast track.

alec im trying to but it sounds like you are all hyped up...if you dont agree with me which i know already tell me....i explained why i thought gert woulsd stall and i also explained what was going to stall it the steering currents and the high over mexico will block it from moving wnw...what is your problem...also i do go by pressure charts and temps of the water for strengthing phase something i left out in the last post..alec also if the storm would stall off shore it would not strengthen due to the waters off the mexican coast are in the upper 70s...the flow which i already explained comes off the pacific which is a cooler flow...now lets here your forecast im sure everyone on here would love to hear something from you ....not the nhc alec your own personal forecast..leave the nhc out of it and lets hear what alec has to say about gert...
stormtrops forecast is the dummest thing i have ever seen!
the thing is going to go inland and die
It must be detecting something to send it back SE into the BOC.
wow the fsu track develops gert over the pacific. i've never saw that before. then again, i dont believe in computers
conditions in the atmosphere alec i explained are you grilling me you are the one thats arguing and i still havent heard you go out on a limb what gert is going to do..you waiting for it to stall before you say anything..what is your opinion alec on gert will it stall are will it do what the nhc says tell me your opinion im interested in this....
turtle you may be slow but you are entitled to your opinion....if you think gert will die tonight we will see...i dont..
i think the fsu model is just showing erratic movement of remnants, it wont be anything
yes flp it is the low pressure on the bottom of the yucatan that shows up clearly on the water vapor chart and satellite loops........
stormtrop, you are entitled to your opinion but, i think your just looking for any scenario that would bring the storm into the U.S which is making you look ignorant of forecasting
lets all ask alec what he thinks gert will do..why is he afraid to go out on a limb...he needs the nhc .a baby could do that wait to give my opinion after there forecast comes out..come on alec live dangerous for once...
on to a logical discussion, what is up with gerts double circulation? its like 2 cyclones in 1, something I have never seen
ok turtle if thats what you think i can respect that...
stormtrop, there is no limb with Gert its already almost over with
anyways, the double circulation should destroy each other or something but, they both look intact
turtle thats what make gert so interesting..it has 2 centers because it is so disorganized right now thats why the recon is having a hard time with the center...also its one of the hardest kinds of storms to forecast due to the steering currents being so weak down there..i wouldnt be surprise if you see another center in gert later tonight further to the south in the bay of campeche where conditions are better for intensification...good question turtle..
the track is pretty solid, all of the centers are going in towards mexico so there shouldn't be too much time for intensification even if it forms in campeche tonight, which is possible but it would end up in mexico again due to the large ridge to the east.
turtle it would not be affected due to the low on the yucatan penn...it would keep it stationary or move in and erratic fashoin...and if another center did develop in boc then you know the high wasnt strong enough to begin with..so why would you think this center would move towards the mexican coast if the original one was blocked from doing it...
wow, look at the miami radar. the storms around here are making tropical storm force gusts
the ridge is looking pretty strong to me, check the water vapor. and by the way it looks like the remnants will go north into texas but thats all it look like for the U.S. The high pressure is up to 1018 mb which is strong enough to stear gert. the low is diving south to no affect on Gert also.
yes they look like some whoppers around tampa right now..
we will have to wait and see turtle you know my thinking thats the main thing..alec wont even put his opinion unless he checks in with the nhc..i was just asking him for a prediction..he does everything the nhc does and say..its like a recording if you know what i mean..example turtle i have gert moving nw at 5 the nhc has gert moving wnw at 10 you see the difference between me and the nhc...i forecast on my own what i see happening...alec wont say anything until he sees the computer models and the nhc forecast cone...
WTH the old entrys just dissappeared and there are several new ones that have appeared after I posted something and the name of Dr. Jeffs blog is one of the old entry names....WEIRD,thats what showed up on my screen anyway.
wow the past is cool
cool we all jumped threw time
cj, did you get 700 before the glitch?
what if i dont get 700 post...nnnnoooooo!!!!
i dont know.....ineed a time machine hurry find one
i found ya'll again...i thought i was going back too far in time so i restarted my computer-that didn't change anything. it must be that dust storm...or my microwave?
who all is here......am i trapped in the past 2 days ago...someone fix it
im freaking out i might cry
HELLO? I'm lost in the blog zone - mercury is in retrograde but this is wild
HELLO? Anyone out there?????????????
CJ, I think you broke it with that 700th post.
im here maybe once you get to 700 the whole blog crashes
thats what i was thinking...i feel bad
72. Alec
I hate this blog. it only shoots me into anothertime zone. What you had to say about me Stormtop was totally uncalled for. You think you know everything. You think i shouldn't consider anything but my own interpretation. ok. ill sit in front of a wall and come up with my interpretation without anything. You just got to act childish when im not looking huh?
but yay maybe i got there or either alec stayed in the future and stole it
we won't have to worry about that here. we are safe for now...with under 100 entries
HELLO? Can you hear me?
Where's my poem????????
It's funny, we went back in time and the whole discussion above is Stormtop and Alec going at it. Wow.
77. Alec
i am furious with blogs their a pain!!!!!! never work right.
the twilight zone episode of stuck in the WU blogs and are stuck litterally in the blog and can aimlessly travel through time but can't really do anthing but post ideas and isn't really existing at all,but siriously this is very strange same thing happened to me.
I am ignored :-(
Emmy, please repost it if you can. Everytime this thing crashes it seams to revert to this entry.
it looks like stormtop and turtle had a nice conversation above...alone!
BTW Frankie has two circulation centers now...pretty cool

83. Alec
emmyrose, lighten up, your hair is red, thats awesome.
yes red hair is cool
omg that was a quick random thing to say alec.....
I guess Franklin is dancing with itself???
Thank you Alec for noticing....
it was alec very good
hey what about the 700 post
89. Alec
saw my posts up there? it was the old days when stormtop was going at it with me. not now. im really irritated with this blog!!!!!!
OK, now I'm flippin. They're talking about Gert having 2 centers above and then Franklin gets the same thing. DeJaVoodoo
or maybe it has formed two eyes so it can see better
whoa thats cool
93. Alec
crazy i say.
Yeah Alec, the old days, seems like only 48 hours ago. LOL
oh yes now it has binocular vision
2 centers that is very strange,this hurricane season is scaring me what will we have in september a 200 mph 1500 mile wide storm?Imean siriously,though that may just be because tropical storms are disorganized and often can easily form new centers because it doesn't take much I guess for a 40 mph low level circulation to form under deep convetion over warm waters.
hey remeber i didnt exist in those old days
i forget that other m every time
Yes two centers is very strange but not completely unheard of though i can't recall any storms with that feture though.
helloo, forget a "m" add an "o" everything is balanced!
I noticed some of y'all been stayin your whole life on these blogs.
What the crap happened? I'm in the twilight blog zone. Did any of you see my Stormtop poem?
104. cjnew
yup thats how i work
Any of y'all like to shoot?
106. cjnew
no , i hope it comes back your poem was good.........we should have copied them all
shoot what? and what stormtop poem...post it here
108. Alec
up there i read stormtop saying something about the waters off mexico being in the upper 70's. i heard him also say many times of it being in the upper 80's. just an observation.
109. cjnew
well i gotta go for now.......i might get back on later i dont know...if not se yall 2morrow
Need to by a new gun haven't gotten one since my rubber ceal broke on it,I got so many priorities sometimes I forget about things that are a big deal to me.
111. Alec
bye cj. will miss your humor.
later cjnew
Shoot guns what you mean shoot what?
The waters off Mexico are in the 80s!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Night y'all -
Well I got to git to bed my self soon too.
i suppose there are other things to shoot...like hoops!
Stormtop o Stormtop where did you go
You gave us a lesson and then you were through

You left us with questions no answer in sight
How can you leave us without shedding some light

We have no choice but to make our own Cat scale
Cj's "biggie size" hurricane will prevail.
so whats the big deal bought water temps in the 80s off the mexican coast in late july?
119. Alec
oh yeah the "lose cj effect" guess that means everyone goes to bed.
great poem!!! i was also thinking of the exact words to that first line earlier
more weather literature huh?Whats with the poams
Well, it's the best I could do at almost midnight
does he have that much of a pull on everyone else. when he gets back on i bet all of these sleepers will magically reappear...a miracle!
Darn typos i said poam instead of poem.
or maybe its 3:48 that what it says at least on my post
No I am not a follower count me out.
My poem was to Gert Gert the twerp
But I forgot it -
There is no big deal about the water being in the 80's but someone said it was in the 70s
129. Alec
write one Jedkins. weve been doing it since earlier today.
How y'all like that insanity
132. Alec
stormtop said water was in the 70s above.
then the 80s
134. Alec
got me dizzy there Jedkins.
This blog is what I think the NHC would be like if they were sitting around drunk.
these blogs are making me dizzy...
Not that that's a bad thing....
Us girls wrote our poems, how bout a few guys put together a couple good hurrican poems
half of the nhc is already on here from the names people have
140. Alec
i hate being switched like this. im going to personally tell jeff about it in his own blog.
which of his blogs will you post it in...the past, present, or future?
The whole days work gone in an instant!!
weatherfanatic...sounds like the work of an F5 tornado
144. Alec
ill just shoot him a personal email about it. its driving me up the wall.
Thats what I'm thinking Mobile, the aftermath.........unbelievable
i guess i'm going to read for a while. i got this book called Big Weather and it is about tornado chasers and the new IMAX film...it's pretty interesting. talk to everyone later. mobilehurricane out!
147. Alec
someone sent me an email with title "stormtop".
figures you know?
Im ganna git to bed Night Y'all,anyway liked my random insane post?
149. Alec
yah, jedkins. funny
Well, I have to get an early start tomorrow. I better hit the sack. Check in tomorrow. Good night all!
151. Alec
good nite yall! tomorrow ill probably wake up in the 1940's. lol -nite
152. cjnew
oh well i was just about to get back on and everyone decides to hit the hay.....i must say i feel like im rubbing off on some people... well if anyone is still on i'll be watching.....i was going to see if i could do that magical effect that was mentioned earlier..but i think i was too late so well...goodnight,goodnight to all insight maybe tomorrow Alec and stormtop will fight..so see ya tomorrow and i think everyone on this website......thanks for being so cool to me everyone!!! i dont know if that was considered a poem but the words rhymed.
153. cjnew
wow the other blog is back but it only remembered to 384 and ironically enough i was the last comment saying how i messed it*it* up
154. cjnew
that magical effect lacks magic and effect well .............CJ..........OUT!!
155. Alec
well here i am again back in time june30. its almost august. this is driving me crazy.
156. Alec
hey why am i here????its not jun30.
157. cjnew
im here to
am i the first one to be back here again?!!!!!!!!
guess not!
160. Alec
no i was here first.
our time is the same
162. cjnew
maaaan!!! i want to go back
163. Alec
they just love splitting us up. im going to complain again to jeff until its fixed.
164. cjnew
its cux we arent neccesaril in the past we're just writining into it
i wonder when everyone else will show up here too?
166. cjnew
wow i messed that post up!!!!
167. Alec
they'll probably be sent back to the 1967 blog. so dont bank on it.
I haven't had anything like this happen to me since the '70s
169. Alec
you messed it up cj? didnt that happen a couple days ago when you reached 700?
you're right...who knows? maybe they separated us by age groups and we are the only ones here...but what is cj doing here...jk!!!lol
171. Alec
you're here too hurricanecrab.
172. cjnew
i meant my post be fore it...have a look at it up there
173. Alec
I kinda fancy time paradox..... fits into string theory in a benevolent way... am I talking to myself? Or an older version of me?
Lets do the time warp again
176. cjnew
oh that was really funny!!!
177. Alec
hope not. i usually have conversations with myself when im ignored.
weall just got a month younger...i guess that's cool...except that would mean some people are getting close to 12 again
179. cjnew
me to...its funny though when i talk to myself i say way more
180. Alec
so i guess i wasnt born yet. its wayyyyy too early.
i wonder why they choose to send us back to this blog every time?
182. cjnew
really the age jokes must stop before you get me started...it wont be nice
183. Alec
my mistake. i didnt mean that. i must still be 19.
This is cool, found it on the Nasa web site..

haha this is a good thing. FUBAR = chaos
St. Simmons - haven't heard THAT phrase in a while. good stuff
Steve's blog is fine, want to put some comments there?
187. Alec
because their going to do something to that other blog while we're not looking.
if it's not nice they will probably just send us somewhere else, they don't seem to have a problem with that
189. cjnew
yes ....to steves!!!!poof!!!
190. Alec
greetings Floridagirl! you must be new. at least that's what i think.
191. Alec
im going to cj's blog right now. see yall there!
Oh thanks...Somewhat new :) I read more than I post..
But you all keep me smiling with your posts..Not much time to join in, but I think you all are great.
blogsurfing ye gods what madness....... why the 'ell not. HEY! I THINK I'M GETTING MY HAIR BACK! This time travel is good stuff!

Crabby is gone too ****
this is important the center has reformed south of 20 degrees...ita at 18 and 52...it seems to be moving west of due north and the trough is not effecting it..i think the northern leeward islands need to watch tis one very closely...
correction north of due west.......