Skip to Content

Air Quality Forecasting

Email: Dan Salkovitz or Kristen Stumpf or Mike Kiss

Current estimated air quality index and forecasts by region

Forecast discussion

SMOKE INFORMATION: Here are some general guidelines for citizens to use in assessing local air quality conditions whenever there is wildfire smoke present:

- If you can smell smoke with no visibility impairment, air quality levels are probably in the Code Orange range, or Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups. At Code Orange levels, people with heart or lung disease, older adults and children should reduce prolonged or strenuous outdoor activities. People who are active outdoors also should take it easier to limit their exposure to particle pollution.

- If you can smell smoke with minor visibility impairment (visibility 1 to 3 miles), air quality levels are probably in the Code Red range, or generally Unhealthy. At Code Red levels, people with heart or lung disease, older adults and children should avoid prolonged or strenuous outdoor activities; everyone else should reduce prolonged or strenuous outdoor activities.

- If you can smell smoke with significant visibility impairment (visibility less than 1 mile), air quality levels are probably in the Code Purple range, or Very Unhealthy. At Code Purple levels, people with heart or lung disease, older adults and children should avoid all outdoor strenuous activities; everyone else should avoid prolonged or strenuous outdoor activities.

Forecasts updated April 29, 2016 2:40 pm EDT.

Region Current conditions
as of May 1, 2016 9:10 am EDT
Forecast for May 1, 2016 Forecast for May 2, 2016
Estimated Air Quality Index Primary
Pollutant
Forecast Primary
Pollutant
Forecast Primary
Pollutant
Richmond Good - 26 O3 Good O3 Good O3
Hampton Roads Good - 33 O3 Good O3 Good O3
Northern Virginia Good - 27 O3 Good O3 Good PM2.5
Roanoke Good - 15 O3 Good O3 Good O3
Winchester Good - 19 O3 Good O3 Good PM2.5

Air Quality Index

Sign up to receive air quality forecasts and health alerts by email. Go to DEQcast to begin.
You can also receive updates for the Washington, DC metro area from Clean Air Partners.

Air Quality History - Ozone at Unhealthy Levels

About Air Quality

Virginia DEQ monitors level of ozone and particle pollution from stations around Virginia. Both of these are pollutants that, at high levels, may raise health concerns in some people.

Ground-level ozone is the main ingredient in smog. It is a colorless gas formed by the reaction of sunlight with vehicle emissions, gasoline fumes, solvent vapors, and power plant and industrial emissions. Ozone formation is most likely in hot, dry weather when the air is fairly still.

Particle pollution monitoring is now available on the web for select areas in Virginia. Particle pollution is made up of particles found in soot, dust, smoke, and fumes. The burning of coal, oil, diesel, and other fuels produces these particles. The particles are small enough to enter deep into the lungs and cause health problems.

Ozone and particle pollution have been linked to short-term health concerns, particularly among children, asthmatics, people with heart or lung disease, and older adults. The effects of these pollutants can be minimized by avoiding strenuous activity or exercise when levels are high. You can use the forecast for the following day to plan your activities during the summer months. More information on the health effects of air pollutants is available from AirNow.

What Can I Do?

For More Information...

Regional Air Quality Action Programs

PLEASE NOTE: This data has not been verified by the Virginia DEQ and may change. This is the most current data, but it is not official until it has been certified by our technical staff. Data is collected from Virginia DEQ ambient monitoring sites and may include data collected by other outside agencies. This data is updated hourly. All times shown are in local standard time unless otherwise indicated.