Air Soup

high rise buildings at daytime

I am no longer second-guessing my 2022 decision to sink money into extra air purifiers for our house. My office filter was still having conniptions an hour after I closed windows and turned it on this morning. Which I did as soon as I realized the Air Quality Alert was serious this time.

Our PM2.5 today hit 258. That’s high. Ugly high.

(a score of 300 is the where the alert is “SRSLY STAY INSIDE” and 500 is “The air is danger soup, breathe somewhere else.” That’s my interpretation, anyhow. The official chart is in pretty colors and has much simpler language.)

I’ve gotten used to disregarding Air Quality alerts. Ozone & PM2.5 of 50+ are typical for summer in Chicagoland. Since a score of 50 is the official threshold for an alert, they pop all the time. They’re like the backup beepers of weather forecasts.

This is a whole different thing, though. AQ above 200 is “don an N95 outdoors” bad air, obviously, visibly bad.

It made for an eerie sunset, too. The contrast between the vivid orange disk of the sun and weird greeny-grey sky was definitely apolcalype-ready, especially when the dusk shaded to deep oranges and blood dark red at the horizon.

The moonrise was even eerier.


Nitty Gritty Extras:

For officially nerdy details about air quality I highly recommend for a snapshot of whose air is crappy and why. Or got straight from the home page of, which is the source for Air Quality numbers Google maps and other sites display. You can get your local numbers for PM2.5, ozone, and other pollutants.

Also, in case anyone wonders, my air filters are Coway Airmega 200s, purchased at more than 50% off when suppliers were dumping pandemic-mitigation inventory. I’d been tempted by Corsi-Rosenthal boxes, but I hate fan noise, and these are whisper quiet…when they aren’t freaking over smoke particle soup air I’ve let inside.

Okay. that’s it for now. Onward.

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