Tag Archives: ground-level ozone

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.   

Cough…sneeze…and wheeze

By Jim Beasley


Some of us suffer more than others this time of year; allergies, coughing, sneezing, and running nose. But once allergy season subsides, many of us still have breathing difficulties. You might feel irritation in your throat, coughing- even wheezing. Whether you realize it or not, it could be due to ground-level ozone.

Ground-level ozone is one of the biggest parts of smog, and it’s usually worse in the summer months. When ground-level ozone is high, you might experience some of those breathing problems.

To help keep you aware of the health dangers associated with ozone, we recently began issuing daily ozone forecasts. Ozone is most likely to affect children, those of us with asthma or other respiratory problems, and adults who work or exercise outside. To help you better understand ground-level ozone, we recently filmed the following video with DHEC Environmental Health Manager Jack Porter.

Paying close attention to DHEC’s daily ozone forecast can help you have a healthier spring and summer. To get the latest ground-level ozone forecast, go to:

Learn more about what you can do to help reduce ozone, at http://www.scdhec.gov/ozone/HowtoHelpReduceOzone/. ​