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Thursday, April 19 Weather

Unhealthy air, very warm temperatures in the forecast

It’s 34 days until the official start of summer, but for the next few days, we’re going to get a preview.

For the first time in months, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has issued the first air quality alert of the season because of expected high levels of ozone. It says the air will be unhealthy for “sensitive groups.”

“Children and people with asthma or other respiratory disease are most at risk for experiencing symptoms. Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion. Peak ozone levels are predicted to occur between 2 to 8 p.m. so make sure you get your activity or exercise in before or after these times to minimize health effects,” DEEP says.

The worst air will be in New Haven County into northeast Connecticut. The ozone forecast for Fairfield County is moderate.

“High pressure off the East Coast this Wednesday into Thursday will produce sunny skies and a steady southwest wind. These conditions will transport air pollution from the I-95 corridor into the state over the next two days. The clear and sunny weather will enable additional transported and homegrown air pollutants to mix in the atmosphere and form a secondary pollutant, ground-level ozone, which will also contribute to poor air quality along the I-95 corridor and into southern New England,” DEEP says.

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What You Can Do to Help

When air pollution levels are predicted to be “unhealthy for sensitive groups” DEEP recommends:

Conserving electricity by setting air conditioners to 78o;

Wait ‘til 8” to use energy intensive appliances like washing machines, dryers and dishwashers;

Refueling your lawn mower and cutting the grass before noon;

Driving less by carpooling, vanpooling or using public transit;

Telecommuting if possible;

Refueling your vehicle after dusk and never idling a vehicle unnecessarily; and

Refraining from recreational wood burning.

Temperatures are forecast to soar this afternoon with highest readings in inland Connecticut near 90.

Tempered by the still cool 55-degree water of Long Island Sound, the shoreline’s high is expected in the low 80s. The record high for this date is 85 degrees set in 1974 at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford.

Thursday is also expected to be a few degrees warmer than Wednesday with 90-degree temperatures likely.

The normal high temperature for this date is 68 degrees.

Temperatures will cool slightly on Friday as a cold front crosses the area in the afternoon.

Here’s the steamy forecast:

Today: Sunny, with a high near 87. Light and variable wind becoming southwest 6 to 11 mph in the morning.

Tonight: Mostly clear, with a low around 63. Southwest wind 3 to 8 mph.

Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 90. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph.

Thursday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 68. Southwest wind 7 to 9 mph.

Friday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 85. West wind 6 to 13 mph.

Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 51.

Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 69.

Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 47.

Sunday: Partly sunny, with a high near 68.

Sunday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers after 2am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 53.