An air-quality alert will not be issued Friday for the Midlands by the state’s health agency, after clearer skies Thursday with little smoke smell.
A shift in airflow expected Friday will bring cleaner air to the region, further lowering concentrations of unhealthy particulates, the Department of Health and Environmental Control said in a statement.
As of late Thursday, most athletic organizations were proceeding as planned with planned games this weekend.
Also, after remaining indoors Wednesday, Midlands students, including in Lexington 2, were allowed to have recess outdoors Thursday.
In the Upstate, Pickens County schools announced a two-hour delay for students Friday, saying a burnout operation on Pinnacle Mountain could create dangerous air-quality conditions, The Greenville News reported.
The Midlands is expected to remain under a “yellow code” through Friday, which means the quality of air is acceptable, except for people who are “unusually sensitive” to air pollution.
The S.C. Independent School Association will be monitoring the air quality but is going forth with its championship football games this weekend, said Mike Fanning, the group’s athletic director.
“We have no information that would lead us to suspend any play at this time,” Fanning said. “We’re a go!”
The S.C. High School League left the decision to school administrators but recommended games not be played in areas with “code red” air quality. No S.C. counties were expected to be under “code red” on Friday.
The league also recommended schools take extra precautions, and monitor players and coaches at games played in counties under “code orange.” Only six counties — none in the Midlands — will remain under “code orange.”
“It is our hope these guidelines will aid our schools in finalizing playoff schedules for the remainder of the week and help prepare for an exciting evening of football,” Jerome Singleton, the league’s commissioner, said in a statement.
There is some uncertainty, however, about the air quality Saturday, said Jeff Linton, a meteorologist at the Columbia office of the National Weather Service.
A cold front will move through the area on Saturday. It’ll be breezy, which could change the concentration of particulates in the air. But winds will be shifting, too, Linton said.
Friday “looks like we will be fine,” Linton said. “Although it may be like it is right now, you may be able to barely smell a little smoke. It won’t be as bad as it has been.”