NewsLocal News


Kansas City included in air quality alert for third straight day

June 6 AQI.jpg
Posted at 4:52 PM, Jun 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-06 17:52:52-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Mid-America Regional Council says Wednesday will mark the third day in a row that Kansas City is included in an air quality alert.

Wednesday’s forecasted air quality index of 126 is higher than the forecasted AQIs from Monday (101) and Tuesday (108).

The index, established the the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, provides a color-coded matrix for air quality and its effects on different populations.

The AQI forecast for Wednesday puts the Kansas City in the orange zone. It’s the fourth day of 2023 that an ozone alert has been issued - more than were issued in any year since 2016 except 2018, when 10 days were forecasted to to be ozone alert days.

Ozone air quality alerts history for Kansas City

“We’re in a bad episode right now where the ground level ozone levels have been elevated since the weekend,” MARC Chief Resilience Officer Tom Jacobs told KSHB 41 anchor Caitlin Knute Tuesday. “When we get higher levels of ozone, it can negatively impact health.”

The Kansas City region is home to at least six air monitoring stations. When just one exceeds the standard, the entire Kansas City area is deemed to be above the standard.

Jacobs says of the air quality monitoring network, the station in downtown Kansas City, Kansas has had the highest readings the last few days. Air monitors are also located in places like Olathe, southern Johnson County and the Northland and Liberty.

RELATED | Metal recycling plant fire highlights decades-long struggle for Wyandotte County residents

“We cast a broad net to figure out what’s going on and on top of that, there is some other air quality monitors we might rely on,” Jacobs said.

While Wednesday’s forecasted AQI might mostly affect sensitive groups, the higher the AQI gets, the more likely the affects on the general public.

Kansas City has seen one red ozone alert in the last eight years in 2018. That year saw the most ozone alerts during the last eight years with 12 days exceeding 100 AQI. For red ozone alerts, sensitive groups are likely to experience even worse effects and even members of the general public will start to experience health effects.

“For the kids, for the elderly, for those who have underlying cardiovascular or respiratory concerns, we advise to be aware, maybe stay inside and think about filling up your tank in the nighttime or put off mowing the lawn,” Jacobs said.

More information about ozone and ozone formation is available in AirqKC’s website.