toronto weather

Special weather alert issued for Toronto due to some of the worst air quality in the world

For the second time in just one week, a special weather statement has been issued for Toronto because of extremely poor air quality and visibility.

Though locales like Beijing, Jakarta, Kanpur and others may be known for their smoggy, less-than-clear skies, Canada's largest city is certainly not used to the oppressive blanket of haze that we've been experiencing as of late.

It's led to the bizarre, stark-red appearance of the sun and also the moon, phenomena which people have been quick to photograph and share on social media as hundreds of wildfires continue to rage across northwest Ontario.

As of Sunday, more than 130 infernos were still burning, taking out hundreds of thousands of hectares of forest in the areas of Red Lake, Dryden, Kenora, Sioux Lookout and more

The blazes are to blame for the heavy smoke that has spurred yet another special air quality statement for Toronto courtesy of Environment Canada early Monday morning, with the federal weather body stating that "high levels of air pollution due to smoke from forest fires are possible today."

"Smoke is causing poor air quality and reducing visibility. Smoke is expected or occurring," the alert continues. "Smoke plumes may move over southern Ontario from forest fires in northwestern Ontario. Air quality may deteriorate if the smoke descends to ground level."

The agency warns residents to take measures to reduce their exposure to the potentially-harmful atmosphere, which can cause coughing, throat irritation, headaches and shortness of breath, especially among those who have existing heart and lung issues.

People may also be able to actually smell the smoke in the air, as some air quality indexes such as IQAir measured Toronto as high as 159 during the wee hours of Monday morning, making us the second worst in the world at the time.

As of 9 a.m., we had dropped to 125, placing us sixth for poorest air quality globally.

The high temperatures and humidex ratings today — which will reach 29 C and 34 C, respectively, by mid-afternoon — will not help the matter, so though it may look like another beautiful day for a patio or some outdoor fun, it would be more prudent to avoid physical exertion or just stay indoors altogether.

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