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Air Quality Alerts

Old 06-28-23, 10:39 PM
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Air Quality Alerts

I'm about to go on a short, one week tour week after next, but lately we have been getting Air Quality Alerts. While it's not as bad as what folks on the east coast are getting, we are getting several days over 100, a few over 150, and one over 240. I'm hoping the weather will clear in the next week, but my wife is concerned and wants me to cancel my trip if it doesn't improve. How are others handling Air Quality Alerts? Should I stay home if it's over 100?
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Old 06-29-23, 03:31 AM
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I would at least build a buffer into your schedule.

I took an air quality rest day yesterday in Decatur Illinois and holed up in a hotel. The air quality index topped out at 302 (Hazardous) and was over 200 (Very Unhealthy) from 6pm Tuesday for more than 24 hours and has dropped into 180 (Unhealthy) now and I am hoping for improvement today.





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Old 06-29-23, 07:45 AM
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...depends on which way the wind blows. Last few days in the Milwaukee-Madison area have been bad..300 and above in some areas while most SE WI is 175 or more. Supposed to get better this afternoon..back to <75. I'd plan to take the trip and monitor the airnow.gov website. No sense cancelling anything now as you have no idea what the winds will be doing in a week or two. If things go bad and you get back to the 100+ to 300 range, then I'd cancel. I have no asthma or lung issues and I feel it after building a bike outside the last couple days and running errands. I wouldn't want to be touring with air 150+. Not worth it. You're not just breathing smoke(fine particulates), you're (potentially) breathing burned paint, plastics, rubber, oils..whatever gets in the way of a fire. I read the other day there's 500 fires roaring in Canada covering 29000 sq miles. Once that junk gets in your lungs..it doesn't leave. I suppose you could ride with an N95 mask on..wouldn't be for me.
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Old 06-29-23, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by fishboat
...depends on which way the wind blows.
And you don't need a weather man to know that, or so I have heard.
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Old 06-29-23, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
And you don't need a weather man to know that, or so I have heard.
Look out kid
They keep it well hid
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Old 06-29-23, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
And you don't need a weather man to know that, or so I have heard.
I knew "...depends on which way the wind blows." rang a distant bell from long ago, but couldn't place it. I listened to that tune when it first came out.
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Old 06-29-23, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
And you don't need a weather man to know that, or so I have heard.

indeed. Even a blind man knows when the sun is shining.
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Old 06-29-23, 07:27 PM
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Never really worried about air quality alerts. Air was bad in the DC area today. Did yard work while smoking a cigar.
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Old 06-30-23, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Pop N Wood
Never really worried about air quality alerts. Air was bad in the DC area today. Did yard work while smoking a cigar.


..the COPD industry appreciates your support.
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Old 06-30-23, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by fishboat
...depends on which way the wind blows.
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Old 06-30-23, 01:34 PM
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Old 07-15-23, 02:17 PM
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Update:
Well, the air cleared for the last two weeks. I left Monday and got home yesterday afternoon, just in time for the latest Air Quality Alert for today/tomorrow.
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Old 07-15-23, 03:45 PM
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The Plains and Upper Mid West look nice with temps in the low 70's. It's an oven here.

(Of course it will be cold as hell there in the winter)
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Old 07-15-23, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by gna
Update:
Well, the air cleared for the last two weeks. I left Monday and got home yesterday afternoon, just in time for the latest Air Quality Alert for today/tomorrow.
Good to hear you made a window with OK air quality. I am watching the current plume with interest. I came through Madison yesterday with intention of heading to St Paul. Depending on the readings tomorrow to see whether I take an air quality rest day, ride with a N95 or ride normally...
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Old 07-15-23, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by gna
Update:
Well, the air cleared for the last two weeks. I left Monday and got home yesterday afternoon, just in time for the latest Air Quality Alert for today/tomorrow.
Thanks for the update. I am about half a day downwind from where your home is, today has steadily gotten much more hazy. I see you got home just in time. Where did you go?
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Old 07-16-23, 01:16 AM
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Originally Posted by mev
Good to hear you made a window with OK air quality. I am watching the current plume with interest. I came through Madison yesterday with intention of heading to St Paul. Depending on the readings tomorrow to see whether I take an air quality rest day, ride with a N95 or ride normally...
It was bad today, over 150 most of the day, but a cold front came through and it dropped all evening. Currently at 45. You may luck out.
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Thanks for the update. I am about half a day downwind from where your home is, today has steadily gotten much more hazy. I see you got home just in time. Where did you go?
I didn't go far--I visited campgrounds along the St. Croix. William O' Brien, Wild River, Snake River, Interstate Park. About 200 miles total. I used the Gateway trail to get in and out of town.
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Old 07-16-23, 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by gna
I...
I didn't go far--I visited campgrounds along the St. Croix. William O' Brien, Wild River, Snake River, Interstate Park. About 200 miles total. I used the Gateway trail to get in and out of town.
I grew up in Minneapolis, I recall several camping trips at both Interstate Park parks. One of those was on cross country skis, there was a campsite for canoeists that we camped at in winter at the Wisc Interstate Park.

Sounds like you put together a great short tour.

As I type this, air quality in Madison is in the red zone.
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Old 07-16-23, 07:47 AM
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Glad you got the trip in. I've been watching the radar over North America for a few weeks**. After our last red-zone events a couple-few weeks ago (Milw, Madison..Wisconsin in general) that came from Ontario/Quebec fires, the region north of Lake Huron up to James Bay has seen a fair bit of rain. With the rains and presumably damped-fires, the air cleared up around the Great Lakes and the eastern US. I hoped we were done with the air issues. Hard to believe the current air quality here is so bad with its source so far WNW. I woke this morning (in SE WI) to a pinky-orange ball sun..not a good sign. I noticed the same pink-orange sunlight with the sunset last night..and with the light..the AQI ramps up. Was hoping to do a good ride today..not going to happen.


**We have a planned trip to Montreal and Quebec City coming up and hope the air stays..green.

Unique combo of highs and lows, with clockwise and counter-clockwise rotation, is driving the smoke SE.


Hard to see in a static view, better to see the animated here: https://zoom.earth/maps/wind-speed/#...,-5/model=icon

In short..it looks like were back to good air in about 2 days



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Old 07-16-23, 11:49 AM
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The red band of unhealthy has shifted south of my location. Madison Wisc now is "Moderate" for PM2.5. The number at the station nearest my condo is at 63. Roughly a third of what it was for a while this morning. I am going to go outside for a walk now, that requires less breathing than a bike ride.
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Old 07-16-23, 01:40 PM
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I would avoid any area with bad air quality (above 50). There are micro particles that are toxic and get breathed deep into the lungs. This is even worse for people that smoke or vape as they have damaged the cilia in their lungs that work to remove particles and safeguard the lungs.

At this point in time the best air quality is west of the Rocky Mountains but trying to plan a year ahead with a tour is near impossible with the various weather problems affecting most of the USA and Canada.
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