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A new kind of day: County declares 'action day' in response to elevated Ozone levels

It's the first Ozone Action Day of the summer
Posted at 8:00 AM, Jun 26, 2024

Pima County issued its first Ozone Action Day of the year Tuesday, June 25.

During the monsoon in Tucson, residents experience increased humidity, rainstorms, heat, and particulates such as dust and pollution.

These conditions can lead to higher ozone levels, which can become a health concern.

Ozone Action Day advisories are due to elevated ozone levels. The county warning highlights the importance of being aware of air quality, especially during the summer months.

Cuyler Diggs, KGUN 9’s chief weather forecaster, explained that “In the warmer months of the year when we have a lot of sunlight and not much wind, that ozone starts to build at the surface.”

The buildup can cause irritation, particularly for individuals with respiratory conditions like asthma.

Steve, a local Tucson resident, shared how the conditions had impacted his day.

“My wife and I both noticed some dry eyes, and some stinging,” he said.

Pima County’s Department of Environmental Quality monitors air quality metrics to determine when to issue advisories.

“We start to see those numbers get into those thresholds," Diggs explained. "They’ll go ahead and issue that advisory… a lot of times they’re being a little proactive, too.”

To mitigate the effects of high ozone levels, residents are advised to reduce strenuous outdoor activities and stay indoors during peak hours.

Additionally, reducing driving can help lower ozone production.

“For all of us, what we can do to help is reduce our driving," Diggs said. "That’s one of the big contributors to ozone as well.”

For more information on Ozone Action Days and other air quality alerts, visit the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality's website, here.