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Old 01-11-2007, 01:46 PM
 
4 posts, read 20,921 times
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We are thinking to relocating from CO to the Austin area, and I am wondering if smog is a problem there? My husband and I were born and raised in southern CA (inland empire), and the smog there was so bad that we often couldn't even see the nearby mountains. The sky was usually more gray than blue and we called it haze. Can you please let me know how many (if any) days are like this in Austin vs. how often the sky is blue? Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-11-2007, 02:02 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
8,726 posts, read 17,956,568 times
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Austin is much smoggier than it used to be...in the early eighties is was still unheard of here. Now, we are borderline 'nonattaiment' for the EPA ozone (smog) standard (actually, we will be classified as nonattainment soon). Of course, this is no where near as bad as LA or Houston, the two annual rivals for smoggiest city in the US. Most days are relatively clear not too long after rush hour is over, although never completely clear anymore unless a good cold front has moved through recently.
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Old 01-11-2007, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Austin TX
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I haven't lived here long, but the smog here is nowhere near the levels of the Inland Empire. I know exactly what you're talking about with those brownish gray skies...we lived near there for about a year. Haven't seen anything its equal, except maybe in Phoenix!
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Old 01-11-2007, 06:32 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
944 posts, read 2,806,329 times
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I find the air to be delightful here. We have "ozone action" days in summer when the wind dies down, but on any typical day you can't smell or see any smog, the air is really nice because there is so much circulation.

Unfortunately the rapid growth of Texas cities is causing a general problem in east Texas so we do get a bit of a problem when the wind is in that direction, but it's usually not bad.

The past couple months have been pristine with great temperatures and nice shifts in weather, all of it quite pleasant and ranging from sunny and warm to chilly but invigorating. I love winter here. Summers I can do without, but they're bad in most of the USA unless you're in the Rockies, the northwest coastal region, or the northern Appalachians.
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Old 01-11-2007, 07:54 PM
 
Location: Austin TX
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I had to disagree with you about mosquitos, deeptrance, but I couldn't agree more about winters here. I am loving the variety of weather days, especially the cool crisp days. They are a welcome change from Phoenix for me!
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Old 01-12-2007, 01:11 PM
 
Location: The land of sugar... previously Houston and Austin
5,341 posts, read 8,983,623 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trainwreck20 View Post
Austin is much smoggier than it used to be...in the early eighties is was still unheard of here. Now, we are borderline 'nonattaiment' for the EPA ozone (smog) standard (actually, we will be classified as nonattainment soon). Of course, this is no where near as bad as LA or Houston, the two annual rivals for smoggiest city in the US. Most days are relatively clear not too long after rush hour is over, although never completely clear anymore unless a good cold front has moved through recently.
There were one or two fluke years where Houston ranked that high, but not anymore since 2002 or so. The 2006 report shows the top 5 cities are in CA. Houston is #6 and DFW is #8.
http://lungaction.org/reports/sota06_cities.html#table2b (broken link)
'
Of course this is for ozone only... there are other kinds of air pollution that attribute to what you can see, and most TX cities don't have problems with these other kinds.

As for the original question -- No, the smog in Austin is not that bad, especially when comparing to southern CA!
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Old 01-12-2007, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
8,726 posts, read 17,956,568 times
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Quote:
There were one or two fluke years where Houston ranked that high, but not anymore since 2002 or so.
Part of what helped Houston was the changes in the standard. Houston still has some extremely high smog 'hours' (probably still right up near the top), but the new standard is based on an 8-hour average instead of a one hour peak. Since Houston 'spikes' for relatively short periods of time, the change to a longer average has moved them somewhat down the list.
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Old 01-13-2007, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
944 posts, read 2,806,329 times
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Another factor that contributes to "smog" is when there are large wildfires in Mexico. I recall a few years ago when we had about a week of smoky skies because of fires hundreds of miles SW of here. But it was bad enough to affect air quality and you could smell it and feel it. Nice sunsets, but otherwise it's really gross when that happens. It's not just wildfires, they also have lots of intentional burning of forests in central Mexico to clear land for agriculture.
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