The scope and severity of air pollution from the Canadian wildfire-induced smoke event that has engulfed the New York to Washington DC corridor in the northeastern United States has shocked millions already meteorologists and climate scientists.
Smokey haze continues to spread across the northeastern United States and air quality in cities affected cities continues to be unhealthy, a situation that is expected to last for several days.
Approximately 75 million residents remain on alert for the risk of inhaling potentially harmful air from wildfires in Canada, which have spread a cloud of smoke visibly detected by NASA satellites.
NASA explained that although smoke from Canadian wildfires often passes into the United States several times in the summer, it usually goes undetected because it is relatively high in the atmosphere and because winds tend to move the smoke towards the east and towards the sea.
This is not the case today, because a weather phenomenon known as “coastal low pressure” it has caused smoke to drift into the southern and eastern US, degrading the quality of surface-level air that millions of people breathe.
Pollution by surface smoke from New York to the DC region is the most significant since July 2002, when a similar event occurred, said NASA scientist Ryan Stauffer.
Biden calls to protect themselves from smoke from the fires
President Joe Biden called on the population to periodically check the air quality in the place where they are: “You can find current air quality and up-to-date public health guidance in your area at a statement.
“Please stay safe and follow the instructions of your local officials”,
After the unusual images published on Wednesday of iconic buildings such as the Empire State Building surrounded by a cloud of orange smoke, the Capitol in Washington woke up this Thursday in a mist.
At a press conference , the mayor of the capital, Muriel Bowser, confirmed that the city raised today to the purple alert level, the highest, and recommended that the population not remain outside and, if they need to, wear a mask.
When will air quality start to improve
According to Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) director Christopher Rodriguez, it won't be until late Friday that air quality starts to “improve significantly,” thanks to that the winds will change.
Air quality in New York began to improve slightly Thursday morning, though still at a level 5 of 6 “very unhealthy”.
Philadelphia and Harrisburg, in Pennsylvania, and other large cities such as Baltimore, Newark, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Indianapolis were also the most affected on Thursday.
Visibility problems caused by smoke covering the skies of the region led the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to temporarily halt flights to Philadelphia and LaGuardia and to delay all those to Newark.
In Canada, although air quality improved early Thursday, the Weather Service forecast the indicator to drop back to “high risk” in cities like Toronto throughout the day. There are around 400 wildfires still burning in the country and almost half are out of control.
Biden insisted this Thursday on his offer to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of his “unconditional support” to respond to the fires and recalled that more than 600 firefighters have already been deployed in the area Americans.
The latest data from the Canadian authorities indicate that since January the flames have consumed 3.8 million hectares of forest, when the average since 1990 is that forest fires burn a total of 2.5 million hectares per year.