New York is once again bracing for unhealthy air levels as smoke from Canadian wildfires is expected to blanket the state tomorrow as Chicago becomes the world’s worst city for air.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams have both warned that the smoke that blanketed the city earlier this month must return.
Mayor Adams tweeted: “Due to incoming winds tonight and ongoing Canadian wildfires, New York City may experience worse air quality tomorrow, Wednesday June 28th.”
Earlier in the day, Chicago recorded the worst air quality in the world as it too was consumed by smoke from the fires.
An air quality index reading recorded Tuesday by the World Air Quality Index ranked Chicago as having the worst quality in the world.
It comes just three weeks after New York City was enveloped in smoke, turning the sky an apocalyptic orange hue and triggering numerous health warnings.
Earlier this month, the city was blanketed in thick orange smoke, after mist and smoke from the wildfires enveloped the Manhattan skyline
Chicago has now been marked as looking unhealthy with a reading of 175 AQI, with parts of Michigan reaching higher
Mist obscures the Chicago skyline after smoke from Canada’s wildfires blanketed the city
Cars sit at a red light on Michigan Avenue under hazy Chicago skies earlier in the day
Chicago is now at the top of the worst air quality list, with Minneapolis and Detroit also now ranked in the top 10 as of this afternoon.
The city has been marked as looking unhealthy with an AQI reading of 175, with parts of Michigan reaching higher.
The index is a measure of five common pollutants and operates on a scale of 0 to 500, with a rating above 150 considered ‘unhealthy’.
Advice given by Air nowurges people to stay indoors and reduce activity levels due to the toxic air outside.
Video shared on social media on Tuesday shows downtown Chicago awash in smoke, with heavy haze visible around the area.
Mayor Brandon Johnson said: ‘Cities across North America this summer experienced unhealthy air quality levels due to smoke from wildfires, affecting more than 20 million people in New York City, Washington DC, Montreal and today here in Chicago.
“As we work to address the immediate health concerns in our communities, this concerning episode demonstrates and underscores the detrimental impact the climate crisis is having on our residents, as well as people around the world.”
Figures from the National Report on the Situation of Wildfires in Canada show that there are still 78 fires out of control, with 122 more under control and 83 in custody.
Smoke from the fires also crossed the Atlantic Ocean and reached Western Europe earlier this week.
The smog that entered Europe did so via the jet stream – strong winds in the upper layers of the atmosphere.
This means that the smoke will not cause a dramatic deterioration in surface air quality like the northeastern United States experienced a few weeks ago.
Smoke billows from igniting internal hot spots in the Kimiwan Wildfire Complex in northern Sunrise County, Alberta, Canada
The Met Office said the smoke would not have the same effect it had on the northeastern US because it is too high in the atmosphere
The UK Met Office said that although the smoke is high in the atmosphere, it can give rise to vivid sunrises and sunsets.
Earlier this month, the northeastern United States was blanketed in smoke from the fires that put 100 million people under an air quality warning.
At the time, health experts warned that breathing in the fog could be as damaging as smoking 22 cigarettes a day.
Smog nanoparticles are so small that they can enter the lungs and bloodstream, with side effects such as eye and throat irritation and breathing problems.
The sun is seen behind the Empire State Building, One Vanderbilt and the Chrysler Building in New York City earlier this month
A sheet of smoke from the wildfires descended on New York, leaving Manhattan residents unable to see the New Jersey skyline across the Hudson River.
In addition to sending New Yorkers indoors, air quality alerts have also been introduced in states including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Illinois, Virginia and the Carolinas, according to the National Weather Service.
Conditions in Chicago are expected to continue overnight but are expected to slowly push south and lessen according to the National Weather Service.