NEW YORK (PIX11) – The tri-state region is experiencing dangerously unhealthy air quality due to wildfires that are devastating parts of Canada.
The smoke is being carried by winds to the northeastern part of the United States, leaving almost a hazy-like film over areas as far south as North Carolina and Ohio.
On Wednesday, New York City’s Air Quality Index (AQI) reached hazardous levels measured at 484, higher than countries with notoriously poor air quality like India, China, and the United Arab Emirates.
What is the Air Quality Index?
The AQI is used for reporting daily air quality. It tells you how clean or polluted the air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for you.
How does the AQI work?
Think of the AQI as a thermometer that runs from 0 to 500. The higher the value, the greater the level of air pollution and the greater the health concern.
If you have a low AQI value, this represents good air quality. While an AQI value over 300 represents hazardous air quality.
What are the measurements of the Air Quality Index?
The AQI is divided into six categories. Each category equates to a different level of health concern. See the table below.
|AQI color||Amount of distress||Index Measurement||Description of Air Quality|
|Green||None (Good Air Quality)||0-50||Little to no health risk|
|Yellow||Moderate||51-100||Acceptable, but risky for some|
|Orange||Unhealthy for sensitive groups||101-150||This level affects sensitive groups and can be concerning to health|
|Red||Unhealthy||151-200||Sensitive groups and members of the general public start to become affected|
|Purple||Very Unhealthy||201-300||Can start to cause health risks for all|
|Maroon||Hazardous air quality||301 and above||Emergency conditions; all members of the general public and sensitive groups will be affected|
What is the current AQI for NYC?
The AQI in New York City was around 137, as of 4:30 p.m., Thursday.
“While still in the unhealthy category, it certainly is not in the 400-425 AQIs we saw for a time [Wednesday], putting us in the hazardous category,” PIX11 Meteorologist Chris Cimino said.
This story comprises reporting from The Associated Press.