Computer model forecast output for Friday doesn’t paint a pretty picture when it comes to wildfire smoke: the forecast is full of bad air for much of Pennsylvania, the southern two-thirds of New Jersey, all of Delaware and Maryland, and large portions of Virginia. Included in this bad air forecast are the cities of Philadelphia, Dover, Baltimore, and Washington DC. Vertically integrated smoke on a mg/m2 basis looks exceptionally high across this region, which will blanket the surface and the air above it with a thick, orange haze.
New York City, which saw the worst air quality in the metrics among all major cities around the world yesterday, should see another reprieve as the smokey air stalls off the Jersey Shore and along the DelMaVa peninsula south of the Big Apple.
Air Quality Alerts are up from Virginia and Maryland north through Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. While the air quality has improved today for the metro New York City region, Air Quality Alerts are also in effect for New York City through at least midnight Friday night.
The thick smoke is delaying flights through major eastern airports and days of consecutive delays and cancellations are building up traffic throughout much of the U.S. air traffic system. More delays and cancellations are expected tomorrow and ground stops are also likely, especially in areas of the central Mid Atlantic where smoke is expected to be thickest.
According to the FAA, “Ground Delay Programs (GDP) are implemented to control air traffic volume to airports where projected traffic demand is expected to exceed the airport’s acceptance rate for a lengthy period of time.” The most common reason for reducing an airport’s acceptance rate is adverse weather, or in today’s case, thick smoke from wildfires burning in North America.
Those traveling through the hazardous smoke should wear N-95 face masks to limit the amount of smoke inhaled while outside or while on their way to airports to make flights. The air quality in some cities is so bad that it would be healthier to smoke a 1/2 pack of cigarettes today than it would be to simply breath in outdoor air all day.