Air Pollution Advisory, when the heat breaks, and farm life update…

June 20th, 2012 at 7:38 am by under Weather

Good morning, Miami Valley… and happy Summer Solstice!  Summer officially begins at 7:09pm today, and as you know… it really FEELS like Summer out there!  Today’s highs will once again climb into the lower 90s (the record is 98).  With the heat index, it will feel like the mid-90s during the middle part of the afternoon, so definitely take it easy if you have to be outdoors.  We also have an Air Pollution Advisory in effect today:

Air quality will be unhealthy for sensitive groups–those that have breathing problems and/or asthma.  I do not have either, but on days like this when I go running, I definitely notice that it’s harder to breathe.  Here is some more information on ground level ozone (smog)… and how you can help limit the amounts in our area today…

Smog is an irritant to the respiratory system formed when bright sunlight mixes with emissions from vehicles and small gasoline-powered engines.   These emissions collect in a stagnant air mass and form smog.  It’s important that everyone takes action to reduce ground-level ozone especially on days when these notices are issued.  Residents are encouraged to follow these actions: 

  • AVOID DRIVING IF POSSIBLE.  Carpool/vanpool or take the bus.   Vehicle emissions cause almost 50% of ground-level ozone.  For short trips, walk or ride a bike.
  • REFUEL YOUR VEHICLE ONLY AFTER 6:00 P.M., OR IF POSSIBLE, DON’T REFUEL AT ALL WHEN AIR POLLUTION ADVISORY NOTICES HAVE BEEN ISSUED.  Vapors from gasoline contribute to the smog problem.  By refueling after 6:00 p.m. when it’s cooler, smog doesn’t form as easily.  Make sure your gas cap fits tightly so gas fumes don’t escape and contribute to the smog problem.
  • IF YOU MUST DRIVE, try to combine running errands or delay them until the Air Pollution Advisory notice is lifted.
  • DRIVE A CAR THAT IS WELL-TUNED.  Avoid “jackrabbit” acceleration and excessive idling, especially at drive-thru windows. If you have to wait for 2 minutes or more, it’s better to turn off the engine and go inside.
  • AROUND THE HOME, limit your use of small gasoline-powered equipment such as lawn mowers, chainsaws, power trimmers and shredders.  Operating a gasoline-powered lawn mower for one (1) hour produces the same amount of pollution as driving a car for eleven (11) hours!   Try a “push” or battery-powered lawn mower instead.
  • MOW YOUR LAWN AFTER 6:00 P.M. when the sunlight is not as strong and smog is less likely to form. 

Some relief from the hot conditions arrives late Thursday in the form of a cold front.  This front will bring in the chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms beginning in our northwest counties late Thursday afternoon.  The front (and any areas of rain) will push southeast as the evening goes on, with the chance of rain lingering into the overnight hours.  Check out what is to follow that front:

Relief from the heat!  Highs on Friday will be in the lower 80s–pretty close to normal.

Now for a look at life on the farm!  Amy & Jason Hoying have a farm up in Fort Loramie… and she frequently checks in with me to let me know how things are going during the all-important growing season.  As we have mentioned in past blogs, parts of the Miami Valley are “abnormally dry”… borderline drought conditions are in place for the northwest half of our viewing area.  Fort Loramie is very much included in this dry zone, but the good news is that they got an early start.

Most corn is about knee-high… and it’s not the 4th of July yet!  That means, things are ahead of schedule.  This is mainly because of the mild start to the season–everything was planted early… AND there was ample moisture at that point.  While these fields look good now and continue to grow, rain is going to be extremely important as they start filling their pods/ears.

Below, you can see just how dry the ground is.  This causes the corn to curl up a bit, because it’s stressed.

Another shot illustrating how dry it is in some of the northern counties… look how brown the grass is!

The grass here in southern Montgomery county isn’t as green as it could be, but at least we have had some rain here and there, and it doesn’t look THIS bad.  The green field beyond the grass is the alfalfa field.  That plant has deeper roots, so it’s able to tap into a little moisture farther down into the earth.  Amy tells me eventually this, too, will slow in growth.

Last, the amber waves of grain!  With the dry weather, many local farmers are busy harvesting their wheat fields… and baling straw.  That’s just what they are doing on their farm week.  A hot one for all the farmers for sure!  Here’s a look at the combining:

They will bale the straw, which will then be used for bedding for their animals.

Hopefully everyone will get some much needed rain later this week for the crops… gardens… and lawns that have also started to seem more like straw than grass!


One Response to “Air Pollution Advisory, when the heat breaks, and farm life update…”

  1. Raymond Bryant says:

    I’m does my part to help I haven’t cut my grass yet this year, I only drive to work and I stop at the store on my way to work or home from work!

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