As warmer weather nears, possibility of bad air days rises

Christopher Dornblaser

With the recent warmer weather and the official start of summer about a month away, an official from the state Department of Environmental Protection says people need to be prepared for Code Orange air days.

A Code Orange alert means that air pollution concentrations in the region might become unhealthy for sensitive or "high risk" groups, including children, people suffering from asthma, heart disease or other lung diseases and the elderly.

“If you are in one of the risk categories, try to stay indoors as much as you can," State DEP press secretary Neal Shader said.

He said those at high risk could experience some irritated breathing during a Code Orange Alert.

Air quality: Shader said that ozone levels are higher when the weather is warmer. That, coupled with particle pollution, determine the air quality codes.

“Statewide (Code Orange Alert days are) definitely more common in the summertime,” Shader said.

The state DEP urges those in the high risk group to avoid strenuous activity or exercise outdoors during Code Orange days.

“We encourage them to stay indoors," he said.

On Thursday, the Susquehanna Valley region is expected to be at Code Green, which is described as "good."

The Air Quality Partnership of the Susquehanna Valley states that a Code Green means the air quality is considered satisfactory and that air pollution poses little to no risk.

AccuWeather is projecting a high of 76 degrees and a low of 50 degrees for Thursday.

Shader said there have been two Code Orange alerts in the state so far this year, both in the Philadelphia area. There have been no Code Orange alerts in York County so far in 2017.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.