Colorado residents and visitors who are planning outdoor activities and trying to help reduce pollution can now check weather.gov for the state’s air quality alerts, thanks to a collaboration between the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) and the National Weather Service. The two agencies created a system that allows the weather service to receive air quality advisories issued by the department’s Air Pollution Control Division.
Although CDPHE also publishes alerts on its air quality website, the collaboration has increased the audience size twentyfold, making the alerts readily available for a variety of concerned groups, from TV meteorologists to outdoor athletes to parents of kids with asthma.
Based on the six levels of the U.S. EPA’s Air Quality Index, which range from good to hazardous, the alerts warn people in sensitive groups to avoid outside exposure because of high levels of ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide or sulfur dioxide. Those who are more sensitive to air quality risks include people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children.