New online option makes finding Rapid City’s air quality quick, easy and accurate

(Miranda O'Bryan)
Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 11:00 AM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Rapid City’s air quality can vary widely from good to hazardous. wild Fires, high wind gusts, and even the general dryness of the region all can contribute to the local air quality. For many Rapid City locals, the quality of the air can impact health and general comfort. People with asthma or other respiratory illnesses, the elderly, the allergic and even the simply sensitive can have a difficult time navigating the sometimes daily changes in the air they breathe. Now, the City is offering a new option for the public to monitor daily and even hourly air quality conditions in the surrounding area and nearby region. “AirNow”, is the new monitoring tool for individuals looking to easily access Rapid City’s air quality data. Air quality information is gathered using the official US Air Quality Index (AQI). AirNow is a partnership of the US Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Park Service, NASA, Centers for Disease Control and tribal, state and local air quality agencies. It will make knowing what precautions to take, simple and accurate.

The ‘Air Quality Index’ feature link can be found at two locations on the City’s home page at , in the Community Bookmark and ‘What’s News In The City’ sections. From either of these locations visitors will be taken to “AirNow”, a one-stop source for air quality data.

For Rapid City, the air quality Index displays a color-coded scale from 0-500. Other features of the page include a color-coded map matching the color scale to show the air quality of the region. The Air Quality Index displays the current air quality and is updated hourly. It also includes any pollutants that may be impacting the air quality index and a recommendation or advisory on outdoor activities given the current air quality.

“The Air Quality Index feature is a great way for the public to check on the air quality of our area,” said the City’s Air Quality Specialist Michelle Tech. “There are many variables that can impact and determine air quality in our community from one hour to the next, one day to the next. And Rapid City has a large footprint so air conditions can be different in the area west of The Gap compared to the rest of the community.”

For South Dakota, air quality alerts are issued and cancelled by the National Weather Service and relayed to the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. When an alert is issued, the City’s Air Quality Office provides a recommendation for the elderly, young and anyone with respiratory problems to avoid excessive physical exertion and minimize outdoor activities during the alert period. The alerts also contain voluntary actions to reduce impacts in construction, industrial and agricultural activities.

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