Berkeley air quality moves to ‘very unhealthy,’ AQI of 246

The air quality in Berkeley worsened throughout the day on Thursday.

Murky views at Aquatic Park because of the poor air quality. Photo: Melinda Stuart

The latest data on Thursday at 2 p.m. from the air quality sensor in Aquatic Park is 246, a level judged “very unhealthy.” The air quality index (AQI) measures particulate matter pollution (PM2.5). An AQI above 200 triggers a health alert and everyone – not just vulnerable populations – may experience more serious health effects.

Forecasts earlier in the week had been for improving air quality as weather shifts and the Camp Fire near Chico was brought under control. But the AQI for Berkeley worsened from Thursday morning to the afternoon.

The City of Berkeley tweeted about the new peak level at 3:04 p.m. on Thursday after the AQI level reached 215 with the 1 p.m. sensor readings.

As Berkeleyside had previously reported, all Berkeley schools will be closed on Friday. Berkeley City College closed its campus on Thursday. At UC Berkeley, administrators are monitoring the situation, but Chancellor Carol Christ said on Wednesday that AQI levels above 200 would lead to consideration of cancelling classes.

The Big Game between Cal and Stanford, scheduled for Saturday at 4:30 p.m., could also be threatened if the AQI remains above 200.