Those living in New York City and neighboring Northeastern regions woke up to find their cities engulfed in smoke, which as the day progressed turned into a hazy, deep orange sky — a result of the smoke traveling south from ongoing wildfires in Nova Scotia, Canada.
With the Manhattan skyline and its landmarks eerily disappearing into the yellow fog, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation issued an air quality health advisory through Thursday, citing "unhealthy" quality levels, which have now been deemed the worst of any city in the world, according to according to IQAir, a Swiss monitoring service.
As New Yorkers and more fellow Northeasterners are warned to remain inside or to mask up should they step outdoors, New York-based meteorologists such as Ginger Zee, Sam Champion, and Al Roker are issuing their own warnings to their ABC and NBC viewers.
"This smoke and haze is for real out here at @lgaairport delaying takeoffs and landings!" wrote beloved Today Show weatherman Al, sharing a video on his Instagram of his view from an airplane, as he waited for his flight to Washington DC to take off.
Though it's unclear whether his flight made it out of La Guardia, the regional airport has since grounded all flights because of the lack of visibility due to the wildfires.
Good Morning America's own chief meteorologist, Ginger, has been keeping her followers updated on the air crisis on her Instagram, writing in a post early in the morning: "Some of the worst air quality in the world in the Northeast thanks to Canadian wildfires & a stagnant atmospheric pattern."
She then revealed: "Get used to it – ebbs and flows as far south as Atlanta for today! And we really won't move this out until the weekend & early next week depending on your location."
The morning show star later shared another photo of New York's foggy, orange sky, where she said: "Preliminary numbers show this is the worst air quality in the 24 years records have been kept by the @epagov in the Northeast."
We're in the worst of the conditions, but the Air Quality Health Advisory has been extended until 11:59 pm Thursday — which our teams have been anticipating.— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) June 7, 2023
Mask up and limit your outdoor activities.
See real-time air quality: https://t.co/Ok9k6nidUG pic.twitter.com/EfceKRUu6Y
She also shared a video on TikTok giving more insight into the scary weather, explaining that an "omega block" is in part why the smoke is being pushed down to the Northeast.
The topic of climate change has naturally been thrust into the conversation, with many blaming climate change inaction as partly to blame for the frequency and severity of wildfires in the US.
In her video, Ginger explained that "85% of wildfires in the US are started by humans," and that while some wildfires are caused purposefully in order to protect forests, our planet's heightened greenhouse gas emissions can intensify them by making heat and drought last longer.
Ginger's ABC colleague Sam Champion also discussed the smoke crisis with his followers, warning that people should try their best to not go out, as the smoke continues to worsen throughout the evening.
As of Wednesday afternoon, states placed under "Code Red" by AirNow.gov are New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Ohio, Vermont, Delaware, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Michigan, Connecticut, and Maryland.
Approximately 90 million people in the US are being impacted by the smoke, and especially concerning is small particulate matter, which NBC News describes as "air that measures less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter" that is small enough to be breathed so deep into the lungs, that it can enter the bloodstream.
As a result, wildfire smoke can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, throat and lungs, plus an increased risk of a respiratory infection.
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