South Coast AQMD Advises Neighbors To Avoid Outdoors After Releasing Windblown Dust Advisory

Tiani Jadulang

The National Weather Service released a wind advisory earlier this afternoon, set to be in effect starting Wednesday at 6pm running through Thursday at 10 a.m.

With gusty winds hitting the Coachella Valley, medical experts told me, this affects everyone. Including those in sensitive groups, meaning those with asthma, underlying lung conditions, and even allergies.

“Really the high winds present sort of a risk for everybody.” Geoffrey Leung, a Public Health Officer for Riverside County says.

Winds could potentially reach 50 mph right here in the Coachella Valley.

Both air quality specialists and medical experts are advising that neighbors do their best to avoid going outdoors.

Besides the wind warning from the National Weather Service, South Coast Air Quality Management District released their own Windblown Dust Advisory for portions of Riverside County.

“We certainly think it’s possible to see some unhealthy air quality levels. It’s highly dependent on how wet the soil is and kind of wind direction and where exactly the winds are the highest.” Scott Epstein, the Programs Supervisor for South Coast AQMD says.

Now while the high winds affect sensitive groups the most, “The winds can trigger, you know, asthma attacks that can make it harder for people who already have trouble breathing or maybe who have trouble sort of walking or doing exercise.” Leung adds.

Those without underlying issues, can also be directly affected.

“A lot of times we think we’re healthy and you know, it should be no problem to go out, but even for healthy people, when there are high winds, there’s a little bit more danger you know, you have sometimes flying objects you have downed power lines, you know, it can be even more dangerous as a pedestrian.” Leung says.

For this reason,  South Coast AQMD tracks the air quality throughout the region, helping guide residents on what they can do to best protect their health.

“We recommend that people reduce their strenuous outdoor activity, they should stay inside with their windows and doors closed, run an air conditioner or an air purifier if they have one available… and also avoid doing things that bring outdoor air inside such as a swamp cooler or whole house fan.” Epstein adds.

Now, medical experts add that for those that need to be outdoors, wearing protective gear like a hat, mask, scarf, and even sunglasses is recommended.

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