File photo: Peter Blasl

Air quality and heat advisories are in effect for Long Island and NYC today due to high heat, humidity and smog.

An air quality health advisory was issued today by the State Department of Environmental Conservation and will remain in effect through 11 p.m., the agency said in a press release this morning.

A heat advisory is in effect until 8 p.m.

A heat advisory is issued when the combination of heat and humidity is expected to make it feel like it is 95 to 99 degrees for two or more consecutive days, or 100 to 104 degrees for any length of time, the National Weather Service said in a statement. Seniors and those with chronic health problems or mental health conditions are at an increased risk. Homes without air conditioning can be much hotter than outdoor temperatures.

The Riverhead Senior Center at 60 Shade Tree Lane will be open until 4:30 p.m. as a cooling center.

Air quality health advisories are issued when DEC meteorologists predict levels of pollution, either ozone or fine particulate matter, are expected to exceed an Air Quality Index (AQI) value of 100. The AQI was created as an easy way to correlate levels of different pollutants to one scale, with a higher AQI value indicating a greater health concern.

The AQI for Long Island this afternoon is forecast to reach 101, a level considered unhealthy for sensitive groups of people such as young children, the elderly and people who have respiratory disease (such as asthma). People in these groups should avoid vigorous outdoor activity.

The pollutant of concern today is ozone, according to the DEC.

Individuals experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain or coughing should consider consulting their doctor, the DEC said.

Summer heat can lead to the formation of ground-level ozone, a major component of photochemical smog. Automobile exhaust and out-of-state emission sources are the primary sources of ground-level ozone and are the most serious air pollution problems in the Northeast.

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