The AQI reading in New York City Tuesday evening reached an unhealthy 137, the highest this year so far. At this elevated number, health effects can be immediately felt by sensitive groups. Healthy individuals may experience difficulty breathing and throat irritation with prolonged exposure, and should limit outdoor activity.
The smoke spread up to 2,500 miles downwind of the locations of the wildfires. “Due to the fact that smoke particles are small and light, they can be transported hundreds if not a few thousand miles away from their source,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Alex DaSilva explained.
USA Today reports:
The sun glowed with a red-orange hue as a visible haze clouded parts of New York City for a second day Wednesday. Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Boston all saw similarly smoky conditions, which began Tuesday.
The smoke prompted air quality alerts in much of the region as the threat of fine particulate matter was increased. In New York, the air quality index reached its 2021 high on Tuesday at levels the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers unhealthy.
Air quality conditions remained poor on Wednesday, and much of the area from Washington to Philadelphia remained under an air quality alert from the National Weather Service.
With an AQI ~150, today’s air quality is the worst in #NYC in at least 7 years
Incredible that it’s due to wildfires 2,500 miles away
— Greg Diamond (@gdimeweather) July 20, 2021
New video: NYC Haze as thick as winter fog, and the worst Air Quality Index number of the year. And an acrid, sick smell. It’s from the Western Wildfires, 2500 miles away.
It’s here now. Just like the man-made climate change disaster is here NOW. pic.twitter.com/YrWcHs6LSU
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) July 20, 2021