The skies are currently hazy as early morning commuters found a smoke-filled skyline impacting the summer air.
An air quality alert has been put into effect in Chicago as smoke from Canadian wildfires continues to permeate the air in Chicago.
In Chicago, conditions are worsening with an air quality alert extended to today. Initially, it was supposed to end Wednesday.
Currently, the air quality is considered “unhealthy” at an index of 179. On Tuesday, Chicago had the ‘worst air quality worldwide’ alongside other Midwest cities.
In Chicago, the air quality is getting better compared to earlier in the week but still exists within the unhealthy category.
Keep reading to learn more about what’s going on:
Here’s what we know:
Wildfires are currently impacting the southern provinces in Canada from Quebec to British Columbia causing the air quality in Chicago to be labeled as ‘unhealthy’. On Monday, the air quality index hovered at 198. Currently, it’s gone down to 179. For reference, standard air quality should exist between zero and 50.
Alongside bad air quality, severe thunderstorms are also predicted to impact the Chicagoland area later this afternoon.
Earlier this month, wafts of smoke drifted toward the U.S from Canadian wildfires, causing many areas of America to appear hazy, and frequent poor air quality alerts to be issued.
In Chicago, particulate matter and smoke from more recent fires are polluting the air, causing an eerie post-apocalyptic effect, like those seen prior in New York.
According to the National Weather Service, this smoky view and red sunsets occur due to high smoke quantity in the air, which only allows for red and orange wavelengths of light to pass through. This phenomenon is not unheard of, as wildfires have darkened skies in the past, causing similar red suns and smoke-filled views across the state.
Air quality alerts have also been issued in Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Minneapolis as the wildfire smoke impacts the Midwest.
What can we do to stay safe?
When it comes to poor air quality, officials are urging anyone with respiratory or pulmonary disorders to employ precautionary measures.
The National Weather Service also recommends limiting prolonged periods of outdoor activity during this time.
As a general rule, opt for less strenuous outdoor activities and move anything you can indoors for the time being. You can also use air purifiers to help improve the air quality indoors and opt for an N95 mask outdoors.
As ongoing smoke pollution fills the air in Chicago, we will continue to stay under an air quality alert for the time being.
To find real-time updates and information about air quality near you, check out a live report on how current air quality is progressing. There is currently no timeline on when the air quality will improve but check back here for Chicago-specific updates.