Unhealthy for all air quality alert for Upstate New York and Northern Pennsylvania issued for Monday

Point on arrow designates the Allegany County seat at Belmont in this air quality map for Monday.

BREAKING: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has confirmed our report from last night that Allegany County and, now, Upstate New York, will be in the Unhealthy air quality range tomorrow as a result of smoke from Canadian wildfires moving across the region, including neighboring McKean and Potter counties in Pennsylvania.

The alert is from midnight today through midnight Monday. There also is a Marginal Risk for excessive rain Monday and Thursday in Allegany County and some adjoining areas which can lead to flash flooding.

A simulated video which we posted last night from the National Weather Service at State College, Pa., had shown arrival of more smoke today and intensifying Monday, with current forecasts from NYSDEC indicating the anticipated range being just above the lowest Unhealthy level for all persons.

The level late last month had reached into the Very Unhealthy range.

Vulnerable population standards
The State Department of Health issues the following cautions in regard to outdoor activities for various air quality alert ranges:

  • When AQI is greater than 100 (‘Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups’), New Yorkers in vulnerable groups should avoid exertion outdoors and watch for symptoms when exposed to the outdoors. Vulnerable individuals include those with cardiovascular disease (e.g., congestive heart failure, history of prior heart attack) or lung disease (e.g., asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), as well as children under 18, adults 65 and older, and pregnant people.
  • When AQI is greater than 150 (‘Unhealthy’), all New Yorkers should avoid strenuous outdoor activities, and those in vulnerable groups should avoid exposure to the outdoors, especially pregnant individuals who may become short of breath more easily. In addition, some employees who are vulnerable should work indoors and camp directors should know their local AQI forecast and alert level and follow AQI guidance. 
  • When AQI is greater than 200 (‘Very Unhealthy’), vulnerable groups should avoid all physical activity outdoors, and reschedule or move activities indoors. All others should avoid long or intense outdoor activities.
  • When AQI is greater than 300 (‘Hazardous’), all New Yorkers should avoid outdoor physical activities.
  • For people who spend time outdoors, when air quality is unhealthy, wearing a well-fitting face mask is recommended. A N95 or KN95 will work best.

Free masks, the same as those used for COVID-19, are available from the Allegany County Department of Health and some local libraries and school districts.

An updating air quality gauge for specific areas and an overall map are available at https://bit.ly/3CVHXUo.

Be Aware. Be Prepared. Stay Safe.TM by staying inside as much as possible tomorrow to protect against Canadian fire particles and continuing to monitor throughout the next several days for air quality, along with severe weather as the forecast can change during the day as one is traveling even into the next counties.

Our exclusive Weather Resources page, shown in the left column of this page or available at https://bit.ly/3YAlcPI, provides links to detail, including Doppler radar, for weather conditions and projections over the next seven days locally and throughout the nation. This includes data such as that accompanying this story.

Additional preparedness
Allegany Hope is a Weather-Ready Nation AmbassadorTM and provides both adverse weather and other emergency preparedness and weather education information on this website and on our group Allegany Hope WNY Community News Facebook page at https://bit.ly/3DRdx6J.

“Like” and “Share” this website and that page, along with applicable posts, with family members and friends to help keep them informed about what is happening in Allegany County and beyond.

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As always, we are seeking volunteers who have an interest in weather and other types of disaster preparedness to expand our coverage and community education. For further information, contact us at AlleganyHopeWNY@outlook.com or (585) 664-9989.