West Coast wildfires cause foggy weather in Huntington | New
HUNTINGTON – Due to wildfires in the United States and Canada, Huntington has experienced foggy weather this week.
Huntington was one of many cities in the eastern United States to experience the haze. The Associated Press reported on the weather event in states such as New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
According to the national weather service website, haze was again present in the region on Wednesday afternoon due to wildfires in the western United States and Canada, but the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh model indicates that the highest concentrations of haze would drift south on Wednesday evening.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen him like this,” said Jeff Hovis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston.
He said the area has been experiencing haze for the past few days. He said that at first the haze didn’t affect visibility so much, but it made the sky a milky blue. The smoke on Tuesday created a dazzling sunset in Huntington, he said.
Hovis said the NWS expects the haze to improve on Thursday as a cold front pushes the haze south toward Virginia and North Carolina. He said the Charleston office had received a few calls from people asking why there was no smell of smoke with the haze, but he said it was because the smoke had been diluted as it passed through the atmosphere of forest fires.
Climate change is part of the reason Huntington experienced the haze, but it’s not the only reason, Hovis said. Forest fires and high pressure in the western atmosphere resulted in the haze.
The PA reported extremely dry conditions and recent heat waves linked to climate change have made forest fires more difficult to fight. Over the past 30 years, climate change has made the West much hotter and drier and will continue to make weather more extreme and forest fires more frequent and destructive.
West Virginia Air Quality Division website on Wednesday rated Huntington’s air quality at good levels, meaning air pollution poses little or no risk. Charleston’s levels were moderate, which means the air quality is acceptable, but there may be a moderate health concern for a small group of people susceptible to air pollution.
Strong winds blew smoke eastward from states such as California, Oregon and Montana, according to the AP. The largest wildfire in the United States, the Oregon Bootleg Fire, reached 616 square miles on Wednesday, half the size of Rhode Island.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
McKenna Horsley is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Follow her on Twitter @Mckennahorsley.