There will be no respite from the thick, hazardous wildfire smoke that’s disrupting daily life for millions of people across the U.S. East Coast and Midwest anytime soon, a specialist meteorologist forecast Thursday.
AP reports the weather system that’s driving what’s now known colloquially as the great Canadian-American smoke out — a low-pressure system over Maine and Nova Scotia — “will probably be hanging around at least for the next few days,” U.S. National Weather Service meteorologist Bryan Ramsey said.
“Conditions are likely to remain unhealthy, at least until the wind direction changes or the fires get put out,” Ramsey said. “Since the fires are raging — they’re really large — they’re probably going to continue for weeks. But it’s really just going be all about the wind shift.”
As Breitbart News reported, smoke from the Canadian wildfires poured south on Wednesday, cloaking the capitals of both nations in an unhealthy haze, sending school recesses indoors and prompting people to fish out pandemic-era face masks.@Majorleaguemadd/SPORTS REPORT+ /TMX
While Canadian officials expanded evacuation orders and asked other countries for help fighting more than 420 fires nationwide, air quality with what the U.S. rates as “hazardous” levels of pollution extended into central New York, with massive tongues of “unhealthy” air extending as far as Virginia and Indiana.
Anyone expecting that to disappear anytime soon is bound to be disappointed.
Across the eastern U.S., officials warned residents to stay inside and limit or avoid outdoor activities again Thursday, extending “Code Red” air quality alerts in some places for a third-straight day as forecasts showed winds continuing to push smoke-filled air south, the AP report sets out. “New York City’s air pollution ranked the worst of any city in the world on Wednesday,” CNBC notes.
In Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered schools to cancel outdoor recess, sports and field trips Thursday. In suburban Philadelphia, officials set up an emergency shelter so people living outside can take refuge from the haze.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said the state was making a million N95 masks — the kind prevalent at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic — available at state facilities, including 400,000 in NYC itself. She also urged residents to stay put.
“You don’t need to go out and take a walk. You don’t need to push the baby in the stroller,” Hochul said Wednesday night. “This is not a safe time to do that.”
The number of Americans breathing unhealthy air has hit 135 million, according to the American Lung Association.
The Associated Press contributed to this report