Sterling Ambivalence (sterlingnorth) wrote,
Sterling Ambivalence

Code Purple!

We've had a remarkable string of bad weather here in the greater Washington DC metropolitan area. The past for days have been bright and sunny. However, they have also been unbearably hot, oppressively humid, and featured a dirty haze that lingered over the land like a jungle fog.

Now we had four days of free bus rides because of this, but the bloom comes off a bit when you realize that they are giving the rides because the air is so polluted with ozone, going outside is a hazard itself.

As I was checking to see how bad the air was going to be today, I discovered something disturbing. I discovered that yesterday, which was forecasted as a code red, which is bad enough to warrant the free bus rides was in fact a code purple! Code purple is so bad it isn't even listed on the website, except to note that it is worse than red. On code red days, the Washington Council of Governments advises that "children should reduce outdoor activities. Healthy individuals should limit strenuous or prolonged outdoor work or exercise. Individuals with respiratory ailments, such as emphysema, asthma, or chronic bronchitis should limit their outdoor activities. If breathing becomes difficult, move indoors."
Purple probably means that prolonged exposure to the air will lead to death. Since today is supposed to be hotter and nastier than yesterday, we'll probably have a unprecedented back-to-back purple days!
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