Western US fires, have filled CNY skies with smoke

Storm Team Headlines

A plume rises over a vineyard in unincorporated Napa County as the Hennessey Fire burns on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. Fire crews across the region scrambled to contain dozens of blazes sparked by lightning strikes as a statewide heat wave continues. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Cooler and drier air has taken up residence in Central New York. It’s certainly fall-like with temperatures as of 2 p.m. Monday only in the low 60s, and dewpoint temperatures in the 40s. Normally, you would expect a nice deep blue, or cobalt sky with these conditions. That’s not the case. There is a weird, milky tinge to the sky. Normally, you would think it’s summertime haze, but that’s not the case. It is smoke from the fires thousands of miles to our west.

Storm Team meteorologist Lindsay Raychel wrote about this possibility last week.

Satellite pictures show the best evidence of that smoky pall.

Visible Satellite Picture at 2:40 EDT Monday, September 14, 2020, courtesy of College of DuPage

In the above image from the College of DuPage, clouds are bright white, and the wildfire smoke shows up as a milky white haze on the picture. The smoke plume spans the entire image from left to right. It looks like the thickest of the smoke is south of Central New York and will continue to move south.

The reds and oranges in this computer model forecast are a representation of where the smoke is most thick. We’re talking pretty much the entire northern half of the continental U.S.

Vertically Integrated Smoke from the HRRR computer model

Despite the movement south, there may be enough smoke particles to refract the sunlight, making for a vibrant orange sunset around 7:15 Monday evening.


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