Tag Archives: AirNow

Understanding Ground-level Ozone Forecasts

South Carolina has had two forecasted Code Orange Ozone Action Days since Ground-level Ozone forecasting season began on April 1st of this year. A Code Orange Ozone Action Day means that atmospheric conditions will likely produce concentrations of ground level ozone air pollution that may be unhealthy for sensitive groups, which includes people with lung disease, older adults, and children.   

Ozone typically forms with highest concentrations on warm, hot, sunny days with light wind speeds, which allows more of the pollutant to form and accumulate. Forecasting ground-level ozone concentrations is an educated prediction based on certain weather conditions and emissions. DHEC has a team of experienced meteorologists on staff that review weather and air quality information daily to produce a next-day ozone forecast, which is posted on DHEC’s own ozone website and U.S. EPA’s AIRNow website. 

Knowing the Ground-level Ozone Forecast ahead of time allows you to make plans and adjust your schedule and activities for the next day. Sensitive groups should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion, take more breaks, and do less intense activities, especially during afternoon and early evening hours when ozone concentrations are typically highest. 

Knowing the Ground-level Ozone Forecastahead of time also allows you to make informed decisions that can help reduce air pollution and decrease ground-level ozone by:    

  1. Refueling your car after 6:00 PM and don’t top off your tank  
  2. Using electric powered lawn equipment  
  3. Avoiding driving during peak traffic hours  
  4. Combining trips when you drive  
  5. Telecommuting (work from home) if possible
  6. Taking your lunch to work  

Sign up to receive forecasts via emails, texts or tweets (customized to fit your style) using EPA’s free EnviroFlash service at www.enviroflash.info.  
For additional information about ozone and air quality, click here.   

Ozone Pollution and Your Health

By Elizabeth Dieck


One of the most common air pollutants in the U.S. is ozone, or smog. You may know that air pollution is a concern for people with heart or lung disease, but other groups can also be at risk, such as children and teenagers, older adults (men over 45 and women over 55) and people who are physically active outdoors.

In South Carolina, a daily ozone forecast is issued from April through September. You can use the forecast to help plan your outdoor activities. Let’s say that ozone air quality where you live is forecast to be code orange tomorrow. There’s a few steps you can take to reduce the amount of ozone you breathe. For instance, if you’re a runner – even if you’re healthy – ozone in the air can be harmful to you. Reduce the amount of ozone you breathe by planning your run for the morning (when ozone levels generally are lower), shortening your run, walking instead or running on a treadmill indoors (where ozone levels are lower). For gardeners, you can do less-strenuous chores, like light raking or pruning. You can also take more frequent breaks – resting reduces your exposure.

Stay alert this summer. Find your ozone forecast at AirNow, or receive daily forecast emails through EnviroFlash. A free AirNow app for iPhone or Android is also available. To access South Carolina forecasts by phone, call 1(866) 238-4973.