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Thursday, September 28, 2023
Sept. 28, 2023

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Seattle air quality among worst in world


SEATTLE — As the days of smoke-filled air from ongoing wildfires in the Cascades continue, air quality in Seattle remains an issue.

Seattle ranked as the worst city worldwide for air quality and pollution at one point Wednesday afternoon, according to IQAir, a Swiss air-quality technology company that also operates a real-time air-quality information platform. Portland and Vancouver, B.C., also ranked in the Top 10.

Seattle ranked ahead of Lahore, Pakistan, for a time as the two cities with the least healthy air quality. Delhi, India, ranked third. Later in the day, Lahore overtook Seattle, which still ranked second in the world.

The unhealthy air quality means all adults should avoid unnecessary time outside. People with heart and lung disease, people over 65 or under 18, pregnant people, and outdoor workers are generally more at risk when breathing in smoke, according to the state Department of Health.

Seattle Public Schools on Wednesday recommended students stay indoors and that recess and physical education classes were at a light level, due to air quality. The school district also advised schools to cancel outdoor athletic events and practices or move them indoors or to an area with a safer air quality.

Winds from the Pacific Ocean are expected to bring rain and cleaner air to the Seattle area by Friday and push out some of the smoke, said Jacob DeFlitch, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Seattle.

Temperatures are expected to drop and hang around the mid-50s through the weekend. Rainfall may be as much as a half-inch to three-quarters of an inch.