Have you noticed a hazier-than-usual mid-September sky?
Wildfires are raging thousands of miles away on the West Coast, but the resulting smoke has made its way east, creating a murky sky and blaring red sun over Massachusetts, forecasters said.
Thick discolored air has blanketed parts of California, Oregon, and Washington, where multiple fires have left more than two dozen people dead, thousands evacuated from their homes, communities decimated, and millions of acres of land charred. East coasters began to see a small fraction of the conditions Bay Area and Pacific Northwest residents have been living under for weeks Tuesday when a jet stream carried the smoke eastward.
The sky’s hazy appearance is likely to continue on Wednesday and possibly the next few days as the current continues to funnel the smoke. Massachusetts residents might even be able to detect a burnt wood scent as the smoke remains.
The milky quality of the sky also was visible in Maine, where forecasters noted the only effects from the fire in the area would be the “hazy sky.”
Have you noticed the sky looking milky? What you are seeing is smoke from the wildfires in the western U.S. which is being carried to New England by the jet stream. No impacts expected in our area other than a hazy sky. A model animation of the smoke plume is below. #MEwx #NHwx pic.twitter.com/U6QSg7q3Fp— NWS Gray (@NWSGray) September 15, 2020
In addition to cloudier than usual skies in Massachusetts, smoke particles in the air made the sun appear a fiery red color. But the East won’t experience the ominous orange skies that loomed over the Bay Area last week, because the smoke is high up in the atmosphere and the fires are far enough away, a meteorologist told the New York Times.
While the Air Quality Index is listed as “unhealthy” in parts of California and “hazardous” in areas of Washington and Oregon, MassAir Online, the state’s air quality tracking tool, shows “good” ratings across the region.
Several Massachusetts residents took to Twitter to note the unusual appearance of the sky and sun.
Material from the Associated Press and previous Globe coverage was used in this report.