By Craig Day, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Another Ozone Alert day is set for Friday. It will be the third day in a row for the Tulsa area. And this year, it's a very early start to the constant struggle to stay off the EPA's Dirty Air List.
With a temperature above 100 degrees, a heat index much higher than that, and very little wind, it is the right combination for another Ozone Alert day in Tulsa.
"It's something like a sunburn in the lungs, especially for people who already have breathing problems like emphysema and asthma issues," said INCOG's Nancy Graham.
It is an early and unwanted start to the Ozone Alert season. INCOG Air Quality Manager Nancy Graham looked at the data. She says Wednesday's exceedence was the highest early summer exceedence she's seen in five years.
"It is not terribly unusual to have one or two of those in a season, but it is very unusual that we have had such an air quality index, that level of ozone this early in the season," said INCOG's Nancy Graham.
The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality has five monitoring stations in the Tulsa-area like one behind a fire station at 36th Street North and Peoria.
The information gathered at those air quality stations is important to Tulsa's effort to stay off the EPA's Dirty Air List. If Tulsa doesn't, the EPA could require special and more costly blends of gasoline and stricter emission standards for businesses.
"It will cost the community and our pocketbooks and it will cost in economic development," said INCOG's Nancy Graham.
With air quality so poor, people across the Tulsa-area are urged to carpool, reduce idling times, and postpone getting gas and mowing.
"When the Ozone Alert is triggered, we ask that individuals do anything they can do to keep it from getting any higher than it is already going to get," said INCOG's Nancy Graham.