Our skies were filled with smoke and the air quality was choked over recent days. We know where the smoke is coming from – out of control fires burning in Quebec. But why are the smoke plumes so thick over the Northeast?
There are traffic flow problems in the atmosphere right now. A huge high in the middle of the country and a strong low over eastern Canada have been stuck in place. This keeps the weather stagnant. The opposing flow around the high and low – clockwise and counterclockwise, respectively, has created a channel for all of the smoke. It seeped toward the US-Canadian border then enveloped the Northeast with a thick haze.
The smoke is hanging low in the sky due to proximity. These big fires are burning a few hundred miles away. In past events, the smoke traveled hundreds, even thousands of miles before showing up in our sky. The distance allows some of the lower level smoke to dissipate. Other smoky particles are lofted into the flow of the jet stream. The smoke aloft will create a milky or filtered look to a sunny day. However, this time we could not only see it but smell it, feel it, and taste it. The low-lying smoke also creating unhealthy air quality.