The air is cleaner over Kansas City, making the July 18 “Orange Level” alert a one-day phenomenon. It has been nearly a year since the ozone level was so high.
The air quality forecast for Friday July 19 was "moderate" for elevated ozone concentration. Only one day earlier it was considered unhealthy for the sensitive, those with respiratory disease.
Doug Norsby who monitors air for Mid America Regional Council noted the last time quality was so bad was September 4 of 2012.
Some of the ozone is generated locally but Norsby finds some is imported by ‘creep’ in the atmosphere-- “the air slowly moves into our region from points usually Southwest in Oklahoma, Western Texas. They have a lot of oil refinery there. It’ll also happen when we have wildfire and drought.”
Norsby says he ridge in atmosphere carries the ozone potential into Kansas City. But it also allows buildup of ozone from our region to be carried to the North and East.
Kansas City is currently in acceptable levels for ozone production but monitors watch it, lest there be a return to bad levels of some 20 years ago.