Low air quality: Why the Northern U.S. is dealing with so much smoke

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Smoky conditions have blanketed much of the northern U.S., creating air quality alerts and conditions unhealthy to some individuals.

This smoke and haze is noticeable across major cities like New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC.

But where is the smoke coming from? And is it heading toward our region?

Canadian Wildfires

While it is hard to believe, the smoke is coming from wildfires in Canada.

Our neighbors up north are dealing with a brutal wildfire season, with some of the worst activity in the province of Quebec.

The widespread smoke in the northern US is coming from wildfires in Canada.

This smoke is getting transported by the jet stream southeastward into the portions of the Midwest, the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast.

Unhealthy air quality

The smoke is getting trapped in the low and mid-levels of the atmosphere, creating bad air quality.

This is some of the worst air pollution that the region has seen in years.

New York Yankees' Clarke Schmidt pitches to Chicago White Sox's Tim Anderson during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 6, 2023, in New York. Smoke from Canadian wildfires has traveled into the United States, resulting in a number of air quality alerts issued since May. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The air quality on Thursday is forecast to be anywhere from moderate to unhealthy across much of the Northern US.

Air quality alerts have been posted for a vast majority of the region, including New York, Washington DC and Boston.

Health experts are advising residents with respiratory conditions, the elderly and small children to remain indoors due to the poor air quality.

Is the smoke coming here?

While the smoke is moving southbound, it will not be heading all the way south toward our area.

The jet stream will eventually swing more eastward, taking the bulk of the smoke and haze into the North Atlantic.

Some reduced air quality is likely across portions of the Carolinas, and some light haze could exist in far northern sections of SE Georgia.

While parts of SE Georgia may see some smoke, widespread issues are not expected.

The smoke and haze will not make it to Jacksonville or Northeast Florida.

The hazy pics from the northern US are coming from wildfires hundreds of miles away in Canada. Luckily, the worst of the smoke is heading out into the Atlantic and will not impact our area.

About the Author:

David Heckard is The Weather Authority's Assistant Chief Meteorologist.