Beautiful day, but beware the air: Code Orange quality alert in effect

It’s another beautiful sunny day in metro Atlanta on Wednesday, but limit your time outdoors if you’re sensitive to air pollutants. A Code Orange air quality alert is in effect.

According to the National Weather Service, the outdoor air quality is likely to be unhealthy for some people under a Code Orange. The main pollutant driving the lower air quality is ozone, which is a major component of smog. It is caused by sunlight interacting with pollutants, such as vehicle exhaust and other emissions from power plants and industrial boilers, and creates ozone. This often happens in the summer months when there is little wind and prolonged sunlight, especially during peak traffic times.

Children and people with heart or lung disease should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors, especially during the late afternoon or early evening when ozone concentrations are highest, the NWS warns.

“Head out either early or late in the evening” if you’re in those groups, Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Eboni Deon said.

The high today will top out around 90 degrees in the city, and there will be more clouds in the sky but no rain. We’ll see just a 10% chance of a pop-up shower on Thursday, but most of us will get a mix of sun and clouds. High temps will stay in the low 90s then, too.

Aside from Thursday’s slight chance of rain, we’ll stay dry at least through Sunday. The dry weather is allowing the heat to build, and by Saturday, the high is expected to reach 98 degrees, just teasing that 100-degree mark. That’s well above the average 87-degree high for this time of year.

Some relief comes Monday, with a 40% chance of showers and a projected high of 88 degrees.

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