|4||Three Rivers, California|
|7||Lone Pine, California|
|9||Edwards Air Force Base, California|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good|| 22 US AQI||PM2.5|
|PM2.5|| 5.3 µg/m³|
PM2.5 concentration in Omak air is currently 0 times above the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Open your windows to bring clean, fresh air indoors|
|Enjoy outdoor activities|
|Wednesday, Sep 22|
Good 19 US AQI
|Thursday, Sep 23|
Good 16 US AQI
|Friday, Sep 24|
Good 24 US AQI
|Saturday, Sep 25|
Good 34 US AQI
Good 22 US AQI
|Monday, Sep 27|
Good 9 US AQI
|Tuesday, Sep 28|
Good 8 US AQI
|Wednesday, Sep 29|
Good 17 US AQI
|Thursday, Sep 30|
Good 12 US AQI
|Friday, Oct 1|
Good 16 US AQI
Interested in hourly forecast? Get the app
Omak is a city located in the north-central region of Washington state, in the foothills of the Okanagan Highlands. It is also the largest city within the Okanagan County and has an industry that is largely taken up by primary sectors such as agriculture, sawmills and wood processing, along with increasing instances of tourism, though this has been largely halted by the spread of covid-19 from 2020 onwards due to the decrease in travel and recreational activities.
Regarding the city’s pollution levels, Omak is a city that has a mixed range of air quality, coming in with extremely appreciable readings during certain times of the year, as well as coming in with far more polluted months, skewing the yearly average and causing its global ranking to be significantly poorer than it perhaps could be. The most severe of these pollution elevations came about due to instances of forest or wildfires, which can cause both the US AQI level (United States Air Quality Index) and the PM2.5 count to skyrocket. Whilst the US AQI reading utilizes PM2.5, or fine particulate matter for its calculation, PM2.5 is also a prominent measure of air pollution in its own right, due to the danger that it presents when inhaled, along with the myriad of chemicals, liquids and other materials it consists of, which will be explained in further detail in short.
In August of 2021, Omak came in with a variety of high US AQI readings. US AQI is a number aggregated from the various main pollutants found in the air throughout Omak and the rest of the United States. These include ones such as ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and carbon monoxide (CO). The two main forms of particle pollution are also included in the US AQI calculation, which are namely PM2.5, as mentioned above, as well as the larger or more coarse variety, PM10.
Some of these US AQI readings included figures of 22, 32 and 39, placing the city within the 'good' air quality rating bracket, which requires a US AQI reading of anywhere between 0 to 50 to be classified as such. This is color-coded as green, which carries across the various air quality maps, graphs and forecasts present on both this page and throughout the IQAir website, for ease of reference and navigation when observing current or future levels of air pollution, or lack thereof. During such times, the air quality would be significantly freer from chemical pollutants and other contaminants, leaving all members of the population free to conduct outdoor activities and exercise without any worry of experiencing irritation or aggravation of the respiratory tract. Doors and windows can be left open, and preventative measures used to safeguard oneself from air pollution need not be put into use.
However, significantly higher readings were also present. To name them in sequential order of least polluted (as mentioned above with the 'good' air quality rating) up to the most heavily polluted, the next bracket of US AQI readings were figures of 67, 76 and 95, all of which were in the 'moderate' air quality rating bracket. Of note is that these readings were extremely sporadic, looking at the months of July and August in2021. Though the largest spikes in air pollution were seen at the very end of July and the start of August, pollution levels continued to fluctuate over a two month period, which would indicate an important need to monitor air quality levels to protect oneself from the highly damaging effects that larger elevations of air pollution can bring. Such forecasts can be followed on this page, as well as via the AirVisual app, which is updated hourly for the most accurate readings.
Also of note is that other factors such as wind speed and direction can have a prominent effect on such readings, and to use an example, a lack of wind during a highly polluting event can cause large amounts of smoke, haze and clouds of ultrafine particles to build up. Wind blowing in a certain direction can also cause nearby cities and towns to become highly polluted due to the phenomenon of smoke from wildfires being blown many miles away from their source, causing pollution readings to become abnormally high around certain air quality monitoring stations, causing a situation whereby the local town remains unpolluted yet has high US AQI readings due to smoke being blown directly past an air quality monitor.
Such events should be taken into consideration if there are discrepancies between the level of air cleanliness, such as fresh air and no smell of burnt material being present, yet the US AQI reading is particularly high at the same time. This is a brief explanation regarding the factors that can cause certain inaccuracies, and whilst they are not always common, should be taken into consideration when observing air quality readings, as well as staying up to date with hourly forecasts in order to get the most accuracy from the data provided.
Going back to the US AQI readings taken in Omak, higher figures of 131 and 147 were also taken in late July. These are classified as being within the 'unhealthy for sensitive groups' rating bracket, which is color-coded as orange and requires a reading of 101 to 150 to be classified as such. it is at this level of air pollution when sensitive individuals and other at-risk groups should start to take considerably more preventative measures to safeguard their health. These include the avoidance of outdoor activities, particularly strenuous ones such as exercise. Doors and windows can be sealed to prevent indoor air pollution levels from rising excessively. If outdoor movement is necessary or unavoidable, the wearing of fine particle filtering masks can also be employed, which have become far easier to access now due to the advent of the novel coronavirus. Higher quality masks made particularly for filtering air pollutants are also available for purchase on the IQAir website.
Further US AQI readings include ones moving into the more dangerous territory, and include figures of 167 and 174, both of which would be classified as in the 'unhealthy' rating bracket, color-coded as red and requiring a US AQI reading of 151 to 200. At such times all members of the population would experience adverse health effects, aggravation or pre-existing conditions as well as a variety of unpleasant effects making themselves present, which will be discussed in further detail in the health issues question later in the article.
The highest US AQI readings that came in were ones such as 203 and 256, placing Omak into the ‘very unhealthy’ air quality rating bracket, indicating a period in which the smoke and other air pollutants would be at their highest, permeating the atmosphere with thick clouds of haze and other contaminating elements. As the name of this rating bracket indicates, health issues can become severe for people who are exposed to such levels of air pollution.
In closing, Omak can have very good levels of air cleanliness, as was also demonstrated in PM2.5 readings taken throughout 2020. However, instances of forest fires as well as other human-caused pollution spikes can cause the air quality to go from very appreciable to dangerous in a particularly fast manner, and as such, precaution should be practiced during certain times of the year, along with preempting when such polluting events may occur, based on past readings (such as when weather conditions make pollution accumulation more concentrated, along with when forest fires are most likely to occur, although this can be highly sporadic in nature).
As mentioned, one of the predominant sources of elevated US AQI and PM2.5 readings comes directly from wildfires, with larger ones producing huge amounts of pollution that can result in excessively high readings, as well as a poor overall global ranking in terms of its yearly PM2.5 average.
Besides the advent of forest and wildfires, there would also be numerous other sources present that aid in raising the yearly ambient pollution level. These include emissions from cars, along with heavier freight vehicles such as trucks and lorries passing in and out of the city. The exhaust emissions from such vehicles contain many different chemical compounds, including those used to calculate the US AQI reading. Larger vehicles often utilize diesel fuel as their main source, the combustion of which leads to high quantities of black carbon (the main component in soot) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) being released into the atmosphere, along with other pollutants related to the combustion of fossil fuels. Other sources include emissions from factories and power plants, along with construction sites or demolition areas all giving off their own unique pollutants and particles.
Observing the PM2.5 levels recorded over 2020, it can be seen that Omak had its highest pollution levels in the months at both the very beginning of the year as well as the end. January and February presented with readings of 14 μg/m³ and 12.1 μg/m³, whilst September through to December had their own equally high readings, coming in at 50.2 μg/m³, 10.3 μg/m³, 15.6 μg/m³ and 15.7 μg/m³ respectively.
This placed September as the most polluted month of 2020, a time in which fires were taking place throughout the state of Washington, causing the PM2.5 readings to go up to 16 times higher than the lowest monthly PM2.5 reading of the year.
Numerous ill health effects can occur to many individuals when exposure to air pollution is high enough, or when exposure takes place over a longer or more drawn-out period of time. Generally, although any air pollution can cause adverse health effects, as the volume rises, so too do the chance of adverse effects occurring.
As mentioned prior, there are certain groups of people who are considered to be more at-risk or sensitive towards pollution exposure. These are people such as young children and babies, as well as pregnant mothers. The elderly are also particularly susceptible to the damaging effects that air pollution can bring, with surface-level respiratory complaints sometimes evolving into more serious or even life-threatening issues due to frailness, inactivity and sedentary lifestyles, along with other unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking.
Other groups include those with pre-existing health conditions, as well as those with poor or compromised immune systems, with the two often going hand in hand. Ill health and ongoing conditions can have a knock-on effect of compromising one’s immune system and leading to further complications, similar to how the elderly are also affected. Lastly, those with a hypersensitive disposition towards chemical compounds or fine particles are also affected, with resulting breakouts of skin conditions or respiratory and cardiac ailments being commonplace amongst such members of the population.
Health issues include dry coughs, chest pain and infections, along with skin rashes and breakouts, with psoriasis, eczema, atopic dermatitis and severe acne all being possible. Health conditions that fall under the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) bracket may also present themselves, due to the direct impact that pollution and ultrafine particles has on the lungs and respiratory tract. Illnesses that fall within the COPD bracket, which itself is an umbrella term covering numerous ailments, includes pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema as well as aggravated forms of asthma.
In more severe cases, conditions such as heart attacks can increase, along with ischemic heart disease, strokes, arrhythmias and even death, with pollution exposure having a direct correlation with increased mortality rate, both throughout the United States and worldwide. This is exemplary of why exposure should be kept to an absolute minimum, particularly amongst vulnerable individuals.
Once again observing the air quality readings that were recorded in Omak throughout 2020, it can be seen that half of the year had PM2.5 readings that fell below the World Health Organization's (WHO's) target goal for the best or most optimal level of air quality at 10 μg/m³.
The months that came in with these optimal readings were March through to August, which came in with respective readings of 5 μg/m³, 3.6 μg/m³, 3.4 μg/m³, 3.1 μg/m³, 4.6 μg/m³ and 6.8 μg/m³. This placed June as the cleanest month of the entire year, with its reading of 3.1 μg/m³, with April and May following closely behind. The air quality at this time would be extremely clean to breathe, free from a majority of harmful pollutants.