NEW YORK, Jun 07 (APP): Smoke blowing in from wildfires in neighbouring Canada made New York and Washington some the world’s most polluted cities on Wednesday, overtaking New Delhi, which is notorious for its choking pollution.
An acrid haze hung over New York, obscuring landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty and the city’s many skyscrapers. In Washington, a grey veil shrouded the city on what should have been a blue-sky day.
Fires in Quebec and Nova Scotia are blamed for the dangerous air. The US National Weather Service and others call for widespread haze and patchy smoke over New York City and Washington among other cities.
With conditions expected to again worsen, New York Mayor Eric Adams announced that all outside activities at NYC public schools would be canceled Wednesday.
“Try to limit your outdoor activities today to the absolute necessities,” he advised anyone with breathing issues on Twitter.
The hazy yellow-orange skies happen when smoke from the wildfires drifts with the jet stream, explained meteorologist John Homenuk of New York Metro Weather. The quality of the air people are breathing deteriorates as the smoke travels close to the ground.
“When that smoke does mix down back closer to the surface like we’re seeing today, the pollutants and particulate matter in the smoke coming down close to the surface will degrade the air quality,” Homenuk said. “It’s unhealthy to breathe it in. And it can also reduce visibility significantly.”
With the wildfires relatively close in Quebec, Canada and the jet stream pointing toward New York City, Homenuk said this could last for days to come, with a higher risk on Wednesday afternoon.