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

Health Advisory: The air quality for Berkeley has reached 215, which is very unhealthy. Everyone with respiratory or cardiac issues should avoid any outdoor activity. Everyone else, especially children, should *limit* outdoor activity.

— City of Berkeley (@CityofBerkeley) November 15, 2018

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.

Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...