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June 7th, 2023. It’s a milestone… for the wrong reasons 💨
Newsletter #552 (about 11 years worth) is my first ever “smoke-cast”. The smoke is blowing southward from out-of-control wildfires in Quebec, Canada.
I’ve spent the last few hours feverishly coming up with a way to parse and present local air quality data in a consumable manner. If you only have a moment, this chart is for you!
It shows hourly air quality data on Wednesday-Thursday, computed as an average across the Hudson Valley.
The highest concentrations are expected between 1:00 - 6:00 pm today, Wednesday, June 7th.
The peak is expected around 2:00 - 4:00 pm, when the air quality index reaches above 151, qualifying as “unhealthy” according to the EPA’s scale.
Sensitive groups should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion; general public should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion
Several schools have already called for a suspension of outdoor activities, which seems very reasonable given the very unusual circumstances.
The Hudson Valley isn’t alone — the entire Northeast and Mid-Atlantic is dealing with the smoke. The map below shows the maximum near-surface smoke concentration through Thursday, with the color-coding ascribed to the EPA categories above.
The air quality is forecast to be hazardous (AQI > 301, maroon color) around New York City from mid-afternoon through early evening.
While there will still be some smoke in the air on Thursday, it will be much less dense than on Tuesday and today, especially later in the day.
From Friday-Sunday, smoke concentrations look light to occasionally moderate at this time. However, smoke concentration forecasts are subject to change based on the behavior of the fires and predicted wind flows.
A southerly wind shift on Monday should at least temporarily blow the smoke away from the Hudson Valley.
Sights, smells, and tastes 💨
Since I’m based in New Zealand, I’m not experiencing this event with you, but I did experience wildfire smoke in late 2019 and early 2020 during the Australian bush fires. I don’t think our experience in Auckland was quite as profound as the Hudson Valley’s on Tuesday, but it wasn’t pleasant.
Thanks to the dozens of photos and videos sent in by Hudson Valley residents, I certainly felt like I was part of the action.
The sights, smells, and tastes (🤢) of June 6th (and 7th) will probably stick with you for a long time to come.
Here’s a small sample of the photos that were sent to me yesterday:
It’s a crazy world out there. Take care!