I've been getting quite a lot of blog questions starting with this couple's "pollution dispution:"
I wonder if you can settle a question for my husband and me. Sometimes on my weather app it will say "unhealthy air quality for sensitive individuals." My husband insists that it can't be bad because the air is clear and we don't see any smoke or smog. I say, well, it could be clearer and we can't see all the pollutants anyway, they are too dilute to see, but still strong enough to affect someone's breathing. He says if they were there you could see them. What do you think?
Some you can see and some you can't. For instance, when the Saharan Dust or Mexican agricultural fire smoke is particularly heavy then we can see a haziness in the sky and sometimes even a brownish color. Ozone, on the other hand, can cause a burning sensation to eyes, nose tissue and lungs and that is invisible---after all, ozone is just three oxygen molecules as opposed to two (regular oxygen) so you can't see ozone any more than you can see clean air. In addition, regular dust (like the kind that sweeps in from West Texas on a cold front) is not very visible either and can cause serious problems with asthmatics. Usually the emergency rooms are full in Houston after our first strong cold front because it brings in so much dust.
Hope this helps and you win a dinner!!
(She did). By the way there is a great Click2Houston article about our summer pollution here.
Lots of complaints about our September Summer including these from Mark and Rob:
What is with all the higher than average temps for such an extended period? Even though we are no longer at 100 and breaking records, the longer term forecasts call for us to continue to be significantly above average highs and lows (especially lows way above average) for the next 10-14 days. Is there something causing that besides global warming? Is there any relief in sight?
I don't mind the heat for the first four months of summer but as we get in to mid September, this just gets really old when it is still 96 with humidity and lows around 78 when the averages are more like 92 and 72. Was it this far above average last September?
Usually this is the time of year where I start looking at the 10 Day of towns like Lincoln Nebraska- to see if I can get a peak at a front in their forecast, and I am seeing nothing really at all! With the 100 degree day in Denver- and the 2018 September breaking records- do you think this is the new norm?
Thanks in advance!
You are both in luck! The NWS just put out this chart about our hot September:
I did some checking of my own back to 2014 and found the following which might interest you:
2014: First 11 days in the 90s, highest temp 97F and 3.88" rain
2015: 21 days in September were in the 90s with 96F the highest and 2.59" rain
2016: First 25 days in the 90s (!) with the highest at 97F and 1.70" rain
2017: After Harvey, 20 days in September in the 90s with the highest at 93F and 1.23" rain
2018: 11 days in the 90s with the highest at 96F but a whopping 8.60" rain.
So, in short, four months of summer is looking more and more to be the normal!
A lot of folks have asked about how to help the Bahamas.
I contributed to Mercy Corps. Their website is here.
And finally just a really cool picture of a cloud, not a tornado, from Mike and Carmen Martinez in Katy:
Thanks for all the questions! Keep 'em coming!