VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Wildfire smoke from B.C. and the western U.S. has wafted to the other side of the continent, prompting air quality advisories in New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.
Accuweather Senior Meteorologist Dave Bowers says smoky summers are likely here to stay, and likely getting worse due to climate change.
“You know, just the shift in the weather patterns that I’ve seen in the decades that I’ve been working here, I don’t see that being reversed. Unfortunately, the trend toward dry, hot summers and the forest fire danger that comes along with it, I think is, unfortunately, going to be a common feature in the years to come,” he says.
“I think the conditions were about as bad as I’ve ever seen it here across Pennsylvania, and I’ve been observing the weather a long time. There was nobody that did not notice it. If you were outside you could smell it, and the visibilities were very poor.”
"It just wasn't New York and Philadelphia, but really from the Great Lakes throughout the northeastern states and down into the mid-Atlantic. There was nobody that did not notice it if you were outside," says @accuweather Senior Meteorologist Dave Bowers. https://t.co/aB9Re5O1lH
— John Ackermann (@jackermann) July 22, 2021
Low visibility and poor air quality in the Eastern U.S. as a result of fires thousands of kilomteres away is not unprecedented, but Bowers says this year’s fire season got off to a troublingly swift start.
“It’s usually well into August before we have one of these episodes when you have a hazy sky or where the day looks a little smoky,” he notes.
“The fire season did get underway early. We’ve been seeing the extraordinary heat going along with those very dry conditions.”
The AQI reading in New York City Tuesday evening reached 137, posing a health risk for vulnerable groups.