PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Due to the potential for unhealthy concentrations of ground-level ozone Saturday, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has issued an Air Quality Alert for the entire state.
The DEM predicts the air quality will reach unhealthy levels Saturday afternoon and evening. The highest ozone readings are expected in and around Providence.
Ozone is a major component of smog and when combined with sunlight and elevated temperatures, it can cause adverse health effects such as throat irritation, coughing, chest pain and shortness of breath. Young children and older adults are particularly susceptible, along with people with respiratory diseases such as asthma.
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Temperatures are expected to soar this weekend, and Chief Meteorologist Tony Petrarca is tracking a potential heatwave Sunday through Tuesday. A heatwave is defined as three consecutive days of temperatures reaching 90 degrees or higher.
The DEM advises Rhode Islanders to limit outdoor exercise and strenuous activity throughout the afternoon and evening, and to stay in an air-conditioned environment if possible.
For residents looking to keep cool, the city of Providence will be opening all of its water parks and cooling centers to the public this weekend. While the hours for the cooling centers vary, the waterparks will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Click here for a list of locations »