'Code Orange' Air Quality Warning Issued - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

'Code Orange' Air Quality Warning Issued for Del., Md. Eastern Shore

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del. (WBOC/AP)- Officials are issuing a "Code Orange" air quality warning for Delaware and Maryland's Eastern Shore.

Officials with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the Maryland Department of the Environment say ozone concentrations Wednesday through Friday are expected to be unhealthful for sensitive people.

90-degree plus temperatures aren't stopping the kids at the YMCA camp at Dover Park from having fun outside.

"We're playing football," said Bella Shade, 10.

Shade is enjoying the sunshine - even if it's making things a bit toasty.

"It's really hot, so we have to try to do our best to not get too tired too quickly."

Not only does the sun make it hot, but David Fees, with DNREC Air Quality Management, says it also helps create ground-level ozone.

"Ground level ozone is also typically called smog. It forms on hot, sunny days. That's exactly the kind of weather we have today," he said. "It's very small amounts. We actually measure it in parts per billion. The federal standard is 75 parts per billion. A 'code orange' will be above 75."

And Fees says that can cause problems for the very young, the elderly and people with respiratory issues.

"It can get in your lungs and cause irritation, maybe tightness of breath."

Fees recommends staying inside as much as possible.

At the YMCA camp that's part of the changes Josh Hoveln says they make on hot days like this.

"We'll have most of our after care inside and most of our afternoon activities, after swimming, inside today. Because at that point in the day, it's really getting up there. Being out there all day, it's a lot."

They pay particular attention to kids who have issues like asthma.

"All the counselors are aware of it," Hoveln said. "If anything happens, they know immediately what needs to happen."

The kids will continue to be outside this week.

"We're going to the beach tomorrow," Shade said. "We're doing a football tournament afterward with another Y in Delaware."

And the staff will continue to keep an eye out to make sure the rough air quality isn't ruining anyone's fun.

Wednesday was Delaware's first "code orange" of the year. Fees says he expects the rest of the week to be at least a "code orange."

He adds it's even possible that level could rise to "code red," at which point any person could start noticing the effect of the poor air quality.

For information about air quality in Delaware, click here. For information about air quality in Maryland, click here.

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