Don’t Expect Much Reprieve From Wildfire Smoke Yet, America

(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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The U.S. will continue to suffer under the thick smoke from Canadian wildfires into the coming days, the National Weather Service (NWS) said Wednesday.

The NWS is on an air quality education warpath as smoke from more than 100 Canadian wildfires engulfs much of the northern and eastern U.S. The agency’s Twitter feed is almost exclusively dedicated to air quality and wildfire updates as of Thursday morning, telling followers to “stay inside, stay informed, minimize your use of vehicle and other gas-powered machines, and do not burn waste or other items” should you live in an area under an air quality alert.

Meteorologists told CBS they are hopeful the smoke will clear when weather patterns change Saturday and Sunday, but that is just a forecast and not a guarantee. “We have been in a blocked pattern across North America all week long,” Weather Channel meteorologist Jen Carfagno told the outlet. “That kept an area of upper level low pressure stuck over the Northeast. The flow around the low pressure has been guiding wildfire smoke from Quebec into the Northeast, Great Lakes, and even Ohio Valley and down in the mid-Atlantic.”

The hardest-hit regions of the U.S. appear to be around the densely populated regions of New York, Pennsylvania and parts of Washington and Virginia, but parts of the Tennessee valley through the Carolinas have also seen air quality plummet in recent days.

More than 115 million people across 15 states were under alerts as of Thursday morning, and there is no near end in sight for the wildfires. (RELATED: US Officials Issue Major Warning Ahead Of El Niño)

While some are hoping a shift in the weather will alleviate some of the fumes, this is also hyper-dependent on totally uncontrollable phenomena. The smoke forced some cities, such as New York, to cancel Broadway shows and halt flights due to hazardous air, creating a dull orange glow and cutting visibility down significantly, the Independent noted.