Two Ozone Alert Exceedances In Tulsa This Week Raise Concern

Thursday, May 17th 2012, 11:58 am
By: News On 6

If Tuesday and Wednesday of this week is any indication, the 2012 Tulsa area's Ozone Alert season is already under way.

In the past, the Tulsa area didn't start seeing Ozone Alert days until June.

Friday is Tulsa's first Ozone Alert day of 2012.

Hot sun and still air are the main factors in the creation of Ozone.

If it's a typical mid- to late-summer day. People create the pollution and the weather turns it into ozone.

But it's not late summer. It's spring.

"Here we are early in May with those numbers. That is concerning," Nancy Graham, INCOG Air Quality Specialist, said.

Tulsa went over the level of what's considered safe on Tuesday and again on Wednesday.

In both cases, the computer used to predict days with poor air quality missed the mark, counting on the wind to clear out the pollution.

"That model clearly, both two days ago and yesterday, didn't tell us to call an alert, so it was not issued… It was a missed call," Graham said.

Mike Grogan, News on 6 Meteorologist said: "Right now we're dealing with a pattern more typical of June or July, so it's no surprise we're dealing with those issues."

Grogan said that pattern is earlier this year than usual - and because of that - there's a good chance of more weather that contributes to oOzone - from now through the end of summer.

"It was essentially a stagnant air mass in the city," Grogan said. "The lack of air movement allowed all that ozone to build up over the city."

INCOG says people can make a difference by avoiding doing what releases the building blocks of ozone.

"A lot of it comes from cars and trucks, on and off road, recreational vehicles, and then there's industry," Graham said.

Thursday's Ozone level has briefly bumped near the standar, but so far, has not gone over it.

Friday is the Ozone Alert Day - so you're encouraged to do less driving, mowing, and if you have breathing issues, stay in the air conditioning.

On May 15th, the Glenpool monitoring site exceeded the Ozone level with a 0.078 ppm. On May 16th, the Tulsa monitoring station exceeded the EPA's Ozone level with a 0.093 ppm, and the East Tulsa monitoring location on Lynn Lane exceeded the Ozone level with a 0.083 ppm.

The EPA says an exceedance occurs when a measurement comes in over 0.076.

During the month of May since 2000, Tulsa area has only exceeded the EPA's mandated level twice, once in 2006 and again in 2010.