Ozone alerts explained
Officials warned Tuesday that air quality will be unhealthy for many Midlands residents heading into the Fourth of July holiday weekend, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, or DHEC.
A Code Orange alert was issued for the Central Midlands from 10 a.m to 8 p.m. Wednesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported.
Air quality will be unhealthy for sensitive groups, according to the DHEC warning. Among those included in that group are those with lung disease or asthma, children, older adults and people who are active outdoors.
The sensitive groups are warned to “reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion, take more breaks, and do less intensive activities,” NOAA reported.
If it was a Code Red alert, those groups would be urged to avoid the outdoors entirely.
In addition to Richland and Lexington counties, the areas where the warning has been issued include Kershaw, Newberry, Fairfield, Calhoun, Sumter, Saluda, Chester, Lancaster and York counties, as the impacted region goes up the center of the state to Charlotte, according to DHEC.
Much of the rest of South Carolina is under a Code Yellow alert, indicating moderate air quality, DHEC said.
The unhealthy concentration of air pollution is the result of ozone on the ground level, per NOAA.