ATLANTA -- It's official... Atlanta has just hit a smog record. Smog-free that is. So far this year Atlanta has had zero air quality "smog alerts."
That makes it the first time in record history that Atlanta has made it this far into the summer without a smog alert. The previous record was July 14th, set back in 1997.
While many Georgia residents may be sick of all the rain we've had, it definitely has made a huge impact on the air quality and ozone levels. Also, we've only had six days this year of 90° or higher, and while that feels great, it's the underlying cause that is helping our air.
In order to have bad air quality days you have to have cloud-free conditions, with wind-free, rather stagnant air. This year, even when it hasn't been raining, it has been cloudy, often times even overcast. We've also had very few days where there wasn't at least a light breeze. Those things help prevent the air quality and ozone from getting so bad that an alert has to be put out.
"In a typical summer we usually see twenty to thirty smog alerts," explains Bill Murphy, State Climotologist for the Environmental Protection Department of Georgia.
Last year we had 16 smog alert days, which was considered a fairly good year since it was below average. Although there was one day that reached Code Purple, the second highest level on the air quality scale. That was the first time Atlanta hit that mark since 2003. In 2011, Atlanta had 40 bad air quality alert days.
So could we make it the whole summer without one? Murphy says don't hold your breath. Typically we have several air quality alert days in August, and it's only late July.