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Oct. 13: Seattle Center

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Very Unhealthy


10/20/22 8:15 a.m., Maple Leaf neighborhood

On Tuesday as the thick cloud of smoke over the Puget Sound region grew heavier, the Air Quality Index kept going up, and the warning went from “unhealthy” to “very unhealthy.” By Wednesday, we had the worst air quality on the planet. In my neighborhood, the AQI was up to 249 just before sunset. (If you are fortunate enough not to have to think about the AQI, and you aren’t familiar with what that number means, a normal day in Seattle has an AQI of 15 or lower.) I made a quick sketch of the orange sun at 6:05 p.m. (at right). A few minutes after I sketched, the sun was completely obliterated by smoke.

By this morning, it was still “very unhealthy.” From our bedroom window, I could barely see down the block. I started sketching, hoping that the sun would eventually appear somewhere. At 8:15 a.m., small cracks of yellow appeared faintly (top of post). For a short time, the sun looked like a pale white disc. Then it disappeared again. The AQI was 235 when I finished the sketch.

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