The Triad occasionally experiences high levels of air pollution which can negatively impact health. The Forsyth County Office of Environmental Assistance & Protection (EAP) issues daily air quality forecasts, so that Triad citizens can take action to protect their health.
Staff meteorologists use data from our network of air quality monitors in Forsyth County, as well as monitors in the greater Triad, to produce a daily air quality forecast. This forecast uses the Air Quality Index (AQI) to assign a color to pollution level. The two pollutants of concern in the Triad are ground level ozone and particle pollution, also called fine particulate matter or PM 2.5.
Daily air quality forecasting for ground level ozone began in the late 1990s. We began forecasting for particle pollution in 2000. Typically, the ozone season runs from April through September due to ozone formation being dependent on heat and sunlight. However, particle pollution can be high at any time during the year.
Occasionally, concentrations for ozone or particle pollution will exceed the National Ambient Air Quality Standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect public health. The air quality forecasts are a way to alert the general public and especially sensitive populations about potential health effects from higher levels of air pollution.
Our office produces a 3-day forecast by 3:00 pm each day, 365 days a year. Our forecast is submitted to numerous websites, newspapers, and television stations. It is also rebroadcast on U.S. EPA’s national Airnow website.