CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has issued an air quality alert Thursday due to an expected increase in ozone levels.

The Air Quality Alert has been issued from 11:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. on Thursday for eastern Hampshire and Hampden counties, southern Worcester County, central and southeastern Middlesex County and Essex County.

Air in these counties may be unhealthy for sensitive groups, including people with heart or lung disease, including asthma, older adults, children, teenagers, and people who are active outdoors. MassDEP says those that are impacted more by poor air quality should reduce their time outdoors Thursday and watch for symptoms of coughing or shortness of breath.

“We get these kind of days typically this time of year in the summer when it’s hot, when it’s humid. The air’s not moving around a lot, that pollution kind of builds up and that’s when we can get these kind of alerts,” said 22News Storm Team Meteorologist Adam Strzempko.

“I garden a lot so I can tell the difference right away,” said Susan Alden of Springfield. “It’s kind of tough to be out. I can’t really stay that long and I have to grab a bottle of water.”

Heat Advisory is also in effect from 11 a.m. Thursday to 8 p.m. Friday, for Hampden, Hampshire, & Franklin Counties.

Thursday will be a mostly sunny, hot and humid day with highs in the mid to upper 90s. The heat index will make it feel like it’s over 100 degrees. Thursday’s record high temperature at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee is 95 degrees, set in 1944. That record could be tied or broken.

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