Ozone Season Begins

After a week of rain and miserably cold temperatures, Houston is finally seeing spring weather again. But unfortunately, sunny days and light winds aren't always a good thing. Today an ozone watch was issued for Houston-and as weather heats up, more ozone warnings are to come. From the KUHF NewsLab, Melissa Galvez reports.

Finally, spring!  Just the time of year to grab a baseball mitt and hit pop flies ‘till the sun goes down.  Not so fast.

"Sunny skies, light winds, warm temperatures, and high background levels of ozone"

Ron Wells is a meteorologist with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.  It turns out that that great spring weather is exactly what causes ozone to form in the atmosphere.  And high levels of ozone can make some people sick.

"Active children and adults and people with respiratory disease such as asthma should limit prolonged outdoor exertion. And I think the key here is respiratory disease and prolonged outdoor exertion"

What is ozone?  When sunlight hits air pollution from cars and factories, it creates the chemical ozone.   It gets into your lungs, and can make you cough.  When ozone levels are high, vulnerable people should stay inside. You could also pitch in to cut down on pollutants.  Here's some advice from TCEQ's Andrea Morrow:

"Just like you would take an umbrella if were going to rain, you might want to take the bus if it's an ozone action day."

Some years, Houston posts as many as 70 "ozone watch days"— that's over 2 months of air that's unhealthy some, or all of us, to breathe

You don't have to put away your bat and glove just yet.  But if you have asthma or young children, it pays to watch out for ozone season, as much as baseball season.

From the KUHF NewsLab, I'm Melissa Galvez