CHICAGO, IL – The Windy City and its surrounding areas are grappling with a decline in air quality as a northerly wind ushers in a fresh wave of smoke from Canadian wildfires. As of 4 p.m. Monday, the air quality plummeted to the red zone, marking an “unhealthy” categorization.
Shockingly, Chicago now holds the undesirable title of having the poorest air quality in the entire nation, with an air quality index of 178 as measured by IQ Air at 7 a.m., earning the city the unenviable distinction of the worst air quality in the nation.
The repercussions of this decline in air quality extend far beyond the city limits. The suburbs of Chicago, including areas as far west as Rockford and as far south as Kankakee, are also affected. Neighboring states such as Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Indiana are grappling with the consequences as well.
Airnow.gov, a trusted source for air quality information, advises individuals with heart or lung disease, older adults, children, and teenagers to undertake various precautions to minimize exposure. These include avoiding strenuous outdoor activities, keeping outdoor activities brief, and considering indoor alternatives or rescheduling physical activities.
For everyone else, it is recommended to opt for less demanding activities that do not require heavy breathing, shorten the duration of outdoor activities, and engage in outdoor endeavors when the air quality improves.
Unfortunately, the hazy conditions and poor air quality are expected to persist throughout the day Tuesday. Models indicate that this current bout of smoke could be substantially denser compared to the previous one experienced earlier this month. However, a glimmer of hope shines through as some improvement is anticipated by Wednesday.