Thu. May 19th, 2022

VANCOUVER –

Smoky sky blocks today blocked Vancouver’s mountain views as residents of the region experienced the worst air quality in any major city in the world.

According to an air quality website, the air in the Vancouver area was worse Friday afternoon than in any of the other cities it monitors.

IQAir said the city’s air quality index (AQI) had reached 188 by 2.30pm and pushed it ahead of Santiago, Chile, which had a score at that time 180.

An interactive map of the region’s air quality on AirIQ’s website suggested that the quality was different across Metro Vancouver, with some of the worst air qualities noted in Burnaby and New Westminster.

Areas closer to the coastline had significantly lower AQI numbers.

Even in the city of Vancouver itself, the values ​​varied. A reading taken on Gravely Street near Commercial Drive in East Vancouver had a score of 210, while the AQI on West 14th Avenue near Oak Street was only 72.

Toronto, the only other Canadian city on the list of 94, was number 19 overall with an AQI of 76.

IQAir called Vancouver’s air pollution “unhealthy” and said it was 12 times the exposure level recommended by the World Health Organization.

The main pollutant in the region’s air at the time of the update was PM2.5 or fine particles. The name refers to airborne solid or liquid particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less, explained an Air Quality Advisor from Metro Vancouver officials.

Due to its size, it can easily penetrate indoors, the region said in its advice, which is also in place for the Fraser Valley.

The high concentration of PM2.5 is expected to continue for at least Saturday, the region said.

Air quality plummeted in the region as the wind pushed in smoke from the fires that burned boats in BC. and south of the Washington border.

Video from CTV News Vancouver’s drone showed the smoke was thick enough to reduce visibility and block mountain views in some areas.

Until air quality improves, people with chronic underlying medical conditions or infections, including COVID-19, should try to reduce time outdoors.

According to Metro Vancouver, exposure is a concern especially for people with lung or heart disease, asthma and other conditions, as well as older adults.

At the same time, BC is experiencing another heat wave.

The city of Vancouver chose for the first time ever to open its refrigeration centers overnight after health officials raised a level 2 weather forecast and declared an extreme heat alarm.

According to a meteorologist, fire in smoke can be a bit of a wildcard. Thick smoke can reduce temperatures by as much as 10 degrees, Armel Castellan told CTV News.

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