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Houston outpaces Los Angeles to retake 'smoggiest city' title

September 7, 2000 Web posted at: 9:58 AM EDT (1358 GMT)

HOUSTON (AP) -- A series of sweltering days and soaring ozone levels pushed Houston ahead of Los Angeles for the title of the nation's smoggiest city, just as southern California's smog season is likely to wind down.

Houston recorded its ninth consecutive day with an ozone reading above the national health standard Wednesday, the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday, giving Houston 37 high-ozone days for the year, compared with 34 for Los Angeles.

A potent high pressure ridge over Texas is to blame.

"High pressure dictates stagnant air. You have no clouds and no wind," said Steve Allen, a National Weather Service meteorologist. "The pollutants that are there are going to stay there. You cook them every day with the sun, and you get a lot of ozone."

Houston hit 107 degrees on August 31 and September 1, and on Monday, the city hit a record-high 109.

Thunderstorms were expected to push inland from the Gulf of Mexico late Thursday and Friday, which could break the heat and the string of ozone days, perhaps handing the lead back to Los Angeles, said Chuck Roeseler, another weather service meteorologist.

In Southern California, the final week of August and first few weeks of September are historically the smoggiest of the year. In Houston, smog season lasts much longer, sometimes beginning in February and persisting as late as November.

Last year, for the first time, Houston had more smoggy days and higher peak readings than Los Angeles: 52 days of unhealthful ozone for Houston, compared with 41 in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles regained the dubious title on August 24, but days of blistering temperatures and windless, cloudless days nudged Houston ahead again.

Much of Los Angeles' ozone is formed when exhaust from cars and smokestacks released during the day mixes with other chemicals and sunshine. In Houston, much of the pollution comes from oil refineries, petrochemical plants and cargo ships.

-- bushbaby (dirty@rotten.scoundrel), September 07, 2000


Monday Houston hit its all time high - 109 Farenheit. This did not happen when Ann Richards (a democrat) was governor of Texas. I say we teach all of the Republicans a lesson this November, by not voting for them. This will teach them to keep the temperature in the double digit range.

-- Boot the Republicans (, September 07, 2000.

You got it Bootman, my point exactly!

It was Republicans like Reagan who caused all this pollution in the first place by allowing corporations to pollute in the name of making the rich richer. It was all this pollution created by greedy Republicans that has caused global warming and the greenhouse effect which makes the pollution even worse, as in Houston.

Get rid of those money-hungry irresponsible Republicans!

-- bushbaby (scum@and.scummer), September 07, 2000.

Although its a different subject, have you seen the atrocity Bush has committed with Texas baseball? Both the Rangers and the Astros are in the cellar. We need to recall Bush as governor.

-- bushell (of@a.politician), September 07, 2000.

Yes, smoggy air makes for lousy baseball teams too. Get rid of the corporate pig, make the refineries clean up their act, and give those ball players a chance to catch their breath!

-- bushbaby (, September 07, 2000.

Let's just do away with refineries more gasoline, plastics (and all that entails, shoes, diapers, dishware, etal), various and sundry "cides"....just get back to basics, right?

To those who oppose using leather, what's your alternative? To those using plastic, what's your alternative?

-- Who Me (, September 07, 2000.

I don't oppose using leather, but I hate plastic. To those who oppose using leather, how about hemp? God gave us everything we need, we sure as hell don't need to make plastic.

-- animals are happy (humans@are.dumb), September 08, 2000.

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