As temperatures climb into the 90s, the National Weather Service is putting out a heat advisory for Greater Columbus during the afternoon and early evening hours Wednesday.
Franklin, Fairfield, Madison and Pickaway counties, as well as counties in southern Ohio, are under a heat advisory from noon until 7 pm In Columbus, the high temperature is expected get up to 95 degrees with a heat index of 100 degrees.
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NWS offers tips to stay safe in heat
The Weather Service urges people to drink plenty of fluids, stay in air-conditioned rooms, stay out of the sun, and check on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances, the agency said.
If people do have to spend time outdoors, NWS suggests rescheduling strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Those outside should wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing when possible and schedule frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments.
Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location and receive medical attention.
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Look out for air quality alerts
While there is no air quality alert issued for Wednesday in Greater Columbus, alerts come up more often during the summertime due to the heat. Most recently, one was issued for Tuesday.
The reason air quality alerts are issued is because of high pollution levels in an area and to serve as a warning for vulnerable groups including the elderly, children and people with asthma and COPD to take precautions, according to the Columbia Climate School, Columbia University’s school or climate research.
Monitors record pollution at more than 1,000 locations in the US for four major pollutants — ground-level ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide. An AQI number under 100 signifies good or acceptable air quality, while a number at 100 is still considered safe. A number over 100 is a cause for concern, while two or more pollutants exceeding 100 means state and local agencies must alert all the groups that are vulnerable to those pollutants.
The two most-common pollutants are ground-level ozone and particulate matter, NWS said.
Ground-level ozone forms when nitrogen oxides from sources including vehicle exhaust and industrial emissions react with organic compounds in the presence of heat and sunlight.
The US Environmental Protection Agency says ozone can cause several health problems, including coughing, difficulty breathing and lung damage.
Particulate matter in the air consists of solid and liquid particles including smoke, dust and other aerosols, NWS said. The sources of these particles include vehicles, factories, power plants, fires and human activities. Particle pollution is linked to a number of health issues, including coughing, wheezing, reduced lung function, asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes.
The NWS encourages residents to take steps to improve air quality, including:
- Taking the bus, carpooling, biking or walking instead of driving alone.
- Refuel your vehicle after 8 pm; do not top off when refueling and tightening the gas cap.
- Do not idle your vehicle because exhaust contributes to the formation of ozone pollution.
- Avoid use of gas-powered lawn equipment on days with an alert.
Micah Walker is the Dispatch trending reporter. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-251-7199. Follow her on Twitter @micah_walker701.