Those working outdoors or taking part in any outdoor recreational activities today, Wednesday, August 29th, should take notice!

The National Weather Service issued a special weather statement this morning at 10:03 that warns of the potential for strong or severe thunderstorms this afternoon and early evening.

From the NWS statement: "Strong thunderstorms are expected to develop across the region this afternoon and continue into early evening. Thunderstorms have the potential to become Severe with the highest threat across the Piscataquis, Penobscot and Mount Katahdin region. Severe thunderstorms may contain strong wind gusts in excess of 58 mph with very heavy rainfall. Hail up to one inch in diameter and rotation is possible in the more intense storms."

These areas could be affected: Northwest Aroostook-Northeast Aroostook-Northern Somerset-Northern Piscataquis-Northern Penobscot-Southeast Aroostook-Central Piscataquis-Central Penobscot-Southern Penobscot-Southern Piscataquis-Northern Washington-Including the cities of Allagash, Clayton Lake, Madawaska,Fort Kent, Frenchville, Presque Isle, Caribou, Van Buren,Mars Hill, Baker Lake, Billy-Jack Depot, Baxter St Park,Chamberlain Lake, Churchill Dam, Mount Katahdin, Millinocket,East Millinocket, Patten, Medway, Houlton, Hodgdon, Sherman,Smyrna Mills, Greenville, Monson, Blanchard, Lincoln, Howland,Springfield, Bangor, Brewer, Orono, Old Town, Dover-Foxcroft,Milo, Guilford, Danforth, Vanceboro, and Topsfield.

Meanwhile, it may not be a good day to mow the lawn if you have any sort of respiratory problem, as the Maine Department of Environmental Protection has issued an "Air Quality Alert" for today.

The alert states: "On Tuesday afternoon ozone levels began building in the New York City/ Long Island Sound area. Winds are expected to bring these high levels of ozone to Maine and travel down the coast on Wednesday. In addition, particle pollution levels are expected to be moderate statewide. Furthermore, heat advisories have been issued by the National Weather Service. This combination of heat, humidity and poor air quality will exacerbate the effects of each."

Folks with respiratory problems may notice these symptoms, according to the alert:  "Shortness of breath, coughing, throat irritation, and/or experience an uncomfortable sensation in their chest."

To monitor air quality forecasts here in Maine, the DEP has a website that will tell you the latest levels for both ozone and particle pollution.

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