Jun 8, 2023 - Climate

Here's why it's so gray outside this week

U.S. air quality index
Data: AirNow; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

More hazy skies are in the forecast as an air quality alert extends into a third-straight day for our region.

Driving the news: Air quality across the Midwest, northeastern U.S. and Canada has plummeted to unhealthy levels due to smoke from wildfires burning from Yukon to Nova Scotia.

What's more: Central Ohio's lack of rain, which we reported on earlier this week, is likely making the situation worse by allowing pollutants to hang in the air.

Threat level: This week is the first time in 13 years the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission has issued air quality alerts specifically due to fine particle pollution (PM2.5).

  • We've had five air quality alerts already this year — more than the last four years combined.

The big picture: The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency issued a similar advisory Wednesday at the state level.

Be smart: Stay indoors, especially if you have breathing issues. And avoid activities that release additional pollutants into the air, such as driving or idling your car, using gas lawn mowers and burning wood and brush.

Go deeper: How wildfire smoke affects the body

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