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Washington, NY breathe easier as smoke drifts south

Washington, NY breathe easier as smoke drifts south

NEW YORK: The mass of smoky air that choked New York, Washington and other US cities earlier this week moderated on Friday as it drifted as far south as the Florida Panhandle, and conditions improved to “moderate” along most of the Eastern Seabord.

The US National Wea­ther Service said air quality had improved in areas along the East Coast, but hazy skies and degraded air quality persisted in pockets of the mid-Atlantic, the Ohio Valley and Eastern Great Lakes region.

The haze, emanating from some 400 wildfires burning in Canada — many of them in Quebec province north of New England — was still severe enough on Friday for the weather service to issue air quality alerts for pockets of the Carolinas and elsewhere in the Southeast, as well as in some parts of Texas and Oklahoma.

“That’s due to a combination of both the particle pollution that’s related to the smoke, but also increased ozone levels for those more urban areas,” weather service meteorologist Zack Taylor said.

Further north, air quality alerts remained in effect, including some “Code Orange” designations in Baltimore and Washington, where a day earlier the smoke was thick enough to obscure the top of the 555-foot tall Washington Monument.

The weather service issues “Code Orange” alerts when air quality has degraded to a point where it could affect the health of vulnerable people, such as children and the elderly.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said the quality of the air in the nation’s capital should show further improvement by Saturday.

“We urge residents and visitors to follow precautions related to the ‘Code Orange’ air quality alert,” she wrote in a tweet.

The weather service said there was a chance of showers and thunderstorms in parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. “That’ll help bring more clouds, and more precipitation will help clean the air a little bit,” Taylor said.

Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2023

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