Update, 3/16: Shortly before noon on Wednesday, the DNR extended the ozone alert until Thursday midnight.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is issuing an Air Quality Watch for Ozone for Racine County and nine other lakefront counties, effective 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, July 15, through 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday.
The watch is being issued because of the forecast for elevated levels of ground level ozone, formed when pollution from power plants, factories and other industrial sources, vehicle exhaust, and volatile organic compounds chemically reacts with hot temperatures, high humidity and atmospheric stagnation.
The Air Quality Index is forecast to reach the orange level, which is considered unhealthy for people in sensitive groups and those engaged in strenuous outside activities or exposed for prolonged periods of time.
People with lung diseases such as asthma and bronchitis should pay attention to shortness of breath, or respiratory symptoms like coughing, wheezing and discomfort when taking a breath, and consult with their physician if they have concerns or are experiencing symptoms. Ground level ozone can irritate the respiratory system, reduce lung function, aggravate asthma and chronic lung diseases, and, over time, cause permanent lung damage.