ozone watch


Central Texas is under an Ozone Watch today and tomorrow.

Watches are usually issued during the summer months when the temperatures are higher and humidity is lower.  And so far this year the area is already dangerously close to exceeding EPA standards. Austin sits at a 74 parts-per-billion average for ozone. If that average jumps to 75 PPB, the area will be in non-compliance. 

“If we get one day at one site in particular, like our Northwest Austin site which has a 79 parts-per-billion eight-hour average … one more at that level will throw us into non-compliance," says Bryan Lambeth, senior meteorologist at Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Deana Altenhoff, Executive Director of the CLEAN AIR Force of Central Texas, agrees. "Ozone season ends October 31st," Altenhoff says. "This is our most critical time of the year because historically this is when we see our highest levels of ozone." 

Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Did you see the Space Shuttle Endeavor fly over Austin this morning? Send us a picture to news@kut.org. Here's a look at what else is happening in the area:

Central Texas Ozone Watch

The Clean Air Force of Central Texas is predicting “Level Orange” ozone levels for today. The areas affected by this Ozone Watch include Hays, Travis, Williamson, Caldwell and Bastrop Counties.

According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s Air Quality Index, Austin’s air quality is currently “good."

Individuals with chronic lung disease, the elderly and young children are particularly sensitive to ground-level ozone. They should attempt to avoid exposure by minimizing exertion outdoors today.

The Clean Air Force of Central Texas encourages everyone to reduce air pollution by carpooling or riding the bus, tuning up vehicles and waiting to refuel until after 6 p.m.

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While motorcycles rev into Austin for this weekend’s Republic of Texas Rally, they’re not the only thing pulling into the region: try ozone.

The Clean Air Force of Central Texas forecasts “Level Orange” ozone levels for this Saturday. That level sits nearly midpoint in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index – making ozone levels unhealthy for adults and children exerting themselves outside, plus asthmatics and people with lung disease.

How to lower ozone levels? The Clean Air Force suggests limiting driving, riding the bus and avoiding idling – highly unlikely scenarios for tens of thousands of cyclists cruising Austin this weekend. 

Photo by KUT News.

Austin Ties for Hottest Temperature

How did you stay cool yesterday? Austin tied the highest temperature it has ever seen Sunday. The high of 112 at Camp Mabry tied the record set in September 2000. Central Texas is under a heat advisory until nine tonight.  Highs today are expected to be near 107. YNN Meteorologist Adam Krueger has more on the historic heat in his weather blog.