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What is With This Hazy Sky?

How the wildfires out west are impacting the Mid-Atlantic region
Posted at 7:46 AM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-16 07:51:11-04

The smoke from the California wildfires is not only impacting the West Coast... but most areas across the United States! The combination of high temperatures, gusty winds, and abnormally dry conditions help prime areas along the West Coast for extreme wildfire activity! This map shows that the thicker layer of smoke resides across the northern half of the country... and this includes Maryland and Delmarva.

A Zonal flow (upper-level winds that are nearly parallel to the lines of latitude) is helping to carry this smoke all the way over to the East Coast. This is why skies have been appearing hazy or "milky-looking". Unfortunately, the sunshine will remain filtered today as the thick smoke lingers upstairs in the atmosphere.

Even though the smoke from the California wildfires remains an issue today, this will not impact ground air quality as the smoke resides at 10,000 feet above the surface and into the jet stream (fast moving column of air). The smoke should be gone by the weekend as we see a pattern shift with more of a Meridional Flow (when upper-level winds cross the lines of latitude at a sharper angle). Brighter skies are on the horizon, especially heading into early next week!