Air quality alert for Wednesday

One down side of tomorrow’s sunny weather is that the higher temperatures and light winds are good conditions to allow excessive amounts of ground-level ozone to form. For the first time this summer, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management has issued a Code Orange Alert for Wednesday in Jefferson and Shelby counties. This lung irritant has a higher impact on the elderly, very young children and people with respiratory illnesses like asthma. Ozone formation usually peaks in the late afternoon hours. The public is encouraged to avoid fueling cars, lawnmowers, etc. until after 6 pm, consolidate car trips and use public transportation, if possible.

The drier air in place over Central Alabama will lead to a few more days with lower humidity, but higher temperatures. Its all due to high pressure parked along the east coast, which is sending us a dry easterly flow. That high will begin to retreat by the end of the week, opening up the door for a return of moister southerly winds. That in turns leads to a return of splash and dash afternoon showers and thunderstorms in time for the holiday weekend.

Overnight, skies remain clear with lows in the mild mid to upper 60s. Wednesday starts with sunshine which remains for most of the day, save a few fair weather clouds. It will be a touch warmer with highs in the low 90s, however, the humidity will still be in check. Wednesday night will be mild again with lows in the same mid to upper 60 degree range. On Thursday, we’ll begin to see the winds shift more to the south, which will drive temperatures higher in west Alabama, where highs could rise to the mid 90s with low 90s elsewhere. Friday looks to be a hot one as well with a few more clouds than in recent days. Can’t rule out a stray, isolated shower, but most should stay dry under the Friday Night Lights. Saturday feels more humid with highs in the low 90s followed by scattered afternoon showers and a few thunderstorms. Fans headed to Auburn for the Arkansas game should bring the rain gear as there may be showers firing up after halftime. Even though the Alabama game is indoors, fans headed there will likely run into showers exiting the Georgia Dome. Sunday will also be a day with scattered afternoon showers and thunderstorms, which may keep the temperature down below 90. For you Labor Day cookout – prepare to dash indoors as a few showers will likely fire up during the afternoon. That summer pattern likely follows us into the first few days of September.

If you’re headed to the beach for the last hurrah of the unofficial end of summer, the earlier you can get there the better. Friday and Saturday look good with partly sunny skies and highs in the low 90s. Sunday could be more showery with highs in the upper 80s.

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