A late spring hot spell is giving the northern Shenandoah Valley an early taste of summer. At 6:00pm on Tuesday the temperature was still a blistering 93 degrees. With more hot weather forecasted tomorrow area utilities are asking consumers to conserve power and reduce emissions to prevent further air quality erosion.
Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) is asking all members throughout the Cooperative’s service area to voluntarily conserve electricity in their homes and facilities by turning off all non-essential appliances and machinery until further notice. REC is making this request due to extreme heat conditions resulting in an increased demand for electricity.
REC says that members can assist in reducing electricity demand by postponing usage unnecessary lights, electronics, electric ranges and ovens, washing machines dryers, dishwashers and personal computers.
REC is also suggesting that members consider raising the thermostat setting on air conditioners unless A/C use is medically necessary.
REC also reminds members to keep an eye on the elderly, extremely young, and the ill to prevent heat exhaustion or stroke.
The very hot temperatures of the last two days have prompted the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments in association with Maryland Department of the Environment, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and District Department of Environment to issue a “Code Orange” air quality alert on Wednesday for the DC Metro area.
A Code Orange air quality alert means that air pollution concentrations within the region may become unhealthy for sensitive groups. Sensitive groups include children and people suffering from asthma, heart disease or other lung diseases and the elderly. The effects of air pollution can be minimized by avoiding strenuous activity or exercise outdoors.
While the Berryville is not under tomorrow’s Code Orange air quality alert, actions in our area have an important downwind impact on our neighbors to the east. Local residents can protect themselves and others by making small lifestyle changes at home, at work, and on the road
â€¢ Postpone mowing and trimming or use electric garden equipment.
â€¢ Postpone painting or use water-based paint instead of oil-based paint.
â€¢ Replace your charcoal grill with a propane gas grill.
â€¢ Choose ENERGY STARâ„¢ appliances and lighting.
â€¢ Cut back on heating and air conditioning when you can and turn off lights and appliances when not in use.
â€¢ Clean heating filters each month.
Employers have a unique opportunity to make a difference. They can promote programs that help employees make positive lifestyle changes. For example, employers can encourage staff to use public transportation or carpool. Employers also can give employees the option of working from home. Encourage employees to sign up for AirAlerts, a free service that delivers air quality information straight to their inbox.
On the Road
â€¢ Keep driving to a minimum.
â€¢ Fill up your gas tank during evening hours. Avoid spilling gas and “topping off” the tank. Replace gas tank cap tightly.
â€¢ Have your car tuned regularly by replacing the oil and air filter, and keep tires properly inflated and aligned.
â€¢ Carpool or use public transportation when possible.
â€¢ Combine your errands into one trip.
â€¢ Avoid revving or idling your engine.
â€¢ Avoid long drive-through lines; instead, park your car and go in.
â€¢ Looking for a new vehicle? Consider purchasing a fuel-efficient model or a hybrid that runs on an electric motor and gasoline engine
Learn more about what you can do to preserve air quality at http://www.cleanairpartners.net
Temperatures will ease slightly on Thursday before heading back towards 90 degrees by the weekend.