Looking a little dusty out there? Yes, but Clark County Dept. of Air Quality meteorologist Paul Fransioli reminds people that looks may be deceiving today. Conditions are improving today as winds are gradually diminishing.
"Regional storms brought with them windy conditions that kicked up a lot of dust in Southern Nevada this weekend, and some if it is lingering into today" said Air Quality's Senior Air Quality Meteorologist Paul Fransioli. "We've been monitoring conditions and have not exceeded Standards for either PM10 or PM2.5."
"PM" stands for particulate matter which is one of the criteria pollutants monitored and regulated by the Dept. of Air Quality. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, PM is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. It may be dust, dirt, soot or smoke. PM particles may be visible as haze or blowing dust.
PM10 are inhalable particles with diameters that are 10 micrometers and smaller. PM2.5 are fine inhalable particles with diameters smaller than 2.5 micrometers. How small is PM2.5? By comparison, the average human hair is about 70 micrometers in diameter.
"Monitoring air quality is often challenging because it sometimes looks worse than it is and other times you can't even see the problem," said Fransioli. "That's why we rely on our network of monitoring stations throughout the county and our and visibility cameras to provide us data to make determinations about air quality."
The EPA's Air Quality Index translates air quality data into colors to help people understand when they may experience health effects from air pollution. People who are considered sensitive for respiratory issues, may want to take extra precaution, even during periods of moderate blowing dust. Tips to limit exposure to dust include:
- Limit outdoor exertion on windy days with dust is in the air. Exercise, for example, makes you breathe heavier and increases the amount of particulates you are likely to inhale.
- Keep windows and doors closed.
- Run your air conditioner inside your house and car to filter out particulates.
- Consider changing your indoor air filters if they are dirty.
- Call Air Quality's dust-complaint hotline at 702-385-DUST (3878) to report excessive amounts of blowing dust from construction sites, vacant lots or facilities.
For the latest in air quality forecasts and information, go to AirQuality.ClarkCountyNV.gov or follow us on Twitter: @CCAirQuality.