Smoke from West Coast wildfires visible in Connectciut
NEW HAVEN — While smoke from the wildfires burning across the West Coast was visible in Connecticut Tuesday morning, the smoke is not expected to have harmful effects on health in the state.
Julie Malingowski, a meteorologist with the NWS Western Region Headquarters in Utah, said Wednesday that the smoke from the series of active wildfires on the West Coast, most of which are in California, was pushed by a high pressure system past the Rocky Mountains into the Great Plains.
From there, wind has taken it across the United States to the East Coast, she said.
Malingowski said the smoke dissipated to a significant extent as it traveled across the country. Much of what remains, she said, remains high in the atmosphere, causing a level of haze and colorful sunsets.
The smoke is not expected to have harmful effects on health in Connecticut, she said, though she advised residents to check with their local air quality experts to get specific information.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicated that smoke was present in the atmosphere across the northeastern United States, including in Connecticut, on Tuesday. The haze was visible in Connecticut Tuesday morning, as noted by NBC Connecticut.
Despite the smoke, the air quality in Connecticut was expected to remain “good” throughout the day Tuesday, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Air Quality Index in New Haven was expected to peak at a value of 37 Tuesday and 33 on Wednesday, according to AirNow.gov, a service run by the EPA. In Bridgeport and Fairfield, the ratings are expected at 36 and 33; in Torrington, 29 and 28; in Greenwich and Stamford, 34 and 35; in Middletown, 31 and 31; in Danbury, 31 and 33; in Norwalk and Westport, 34 and 35.
The forecast draws on data from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, according to the website.
Anything below a concentration of 50 is considered “good,” with little to no risk to residents, according to the scale for the AQI.
By comparison, the AQI in Portland, Ore., stood at 445 Tuesday morning. Anything above of a value of 301 is considered hazardous.
“Everyone” in that city is advised to stay indoors, reduce outdoor activities and stay tuned to local news to receive advice, officials said on AirNow.gov.
“I can feel it in my chest and then I just feel hung over despite not drinking,” Portland resident Zoe Flanagan told The Associated Press. “I felt really hung over all day Saturday. I just couldn’t get enough water, I had a headache.”
The series of West Coast wildfires, burning for weeks, “have destroyed neighborhoods, leaving nothing but charred rubble and burned-out cars, forced tens of thousands to flee and cast a shroud of smoke that has given Seattle, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, some of the worst air quality in the world,” according to the AP.
Malingowski said meteorologists have seen smoke from wildfires travel across the country in the past. However, the number of simultaneous wildfires on the West Coast is uncommon, producing a “more significant density of smoke.”
“As long as the fires remain active, continue to expect the hazy skies,” said Malingowski.