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'Code Orange' air quality forecast Tuesday

Weather ReportsEnvironmental PollutionAir Pollution

Poor air quality, at levels hazardous to children and the elderly, is forecast in the Baltimore area Tuesday, according to the Maryland Department of the Environment.

The agency expects "Code Orange" conditions between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., a level that is unhealthy for sensitive groups, which also include those with respiratory conditions.

High levels of ozone are forecast thanks to temperatures possibly reaching the lower 90s and stagnant air conditions allowing pollution levels to build.

Ozone is a gas that helps protect us from the sun's ultraviolet rays in a layer high up in the atmosphere, but is considered a pollutant closer to the ground. Sunlight-driven chemical reactions involving fossil fuel exhaust create ozone pollution.

A cold front moving in on Wednesday is expected to help improve conditions, though with high humidity, fine particle pollition is expected to remain elevated. There is a 30 to 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Cooler, drier air forecast to move in Thursday is forecast to bring good air quality, according to MDE.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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