Breathe easy: Air quality forecasts just got an upgrade in Maryland

Good news if you prefer a breath of fresh air in Maryland — the state’s air quality forecasting system just got more accurate.

The Maryland Department of the Environment provides particle pollution forecasts year round, and ground level ozone pollution forecasts from April through September.

Now, the state has been newly divided into 10 zones for air quality forecasting purposes, up from what was previously four zones. Each zone gets its own tailored forecast.

What used to be one big “Washington D.C. metro” zone, is now divided into three forecast zones.

“Suburban D.C.” includes Prince George’s County and parts of Montgomery and Howard counties.

“Maryland Piedmont” includes northern Montgomery County and western Howard County, as well as Frederick and Carroll counties.

The “Southern Maryland” zone contains Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties.

Anne Arundel County is part of the “Metro Baltimore” zone.

“These timely improvements deliver more precise and localized forecasting to benefit public health and the environment for all Marylanders,” Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles said in a statement.

There are several different ways to access the forecasts. You can read them on the MDE website, sign up for AirNow’s Enviroflash emails or use the Clean Air Partners or Air Now apps.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter and anchor at WTOP.

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