Smoke from wildfires in the west and thermal dome could worsen air quality in the east
(CNN) – Meteorologists predict that another heat dome this week could bring hotter temperatures to much of the United States, which could worsen air quality as smoke and haze from the fires of forest in the west continue to spread to the east coast.
So what causes smoke to travel so far, and what can you do to protect yourself?
Foggy, smoky skies create poor air quality on the east coast.
Dozens of large forest fires burning in the West are to blame, generating huge plumes of smoke so large they are visible from space.
“When the air is warmer than the air around it, it will rise and when you have a forest fire, it will take away smoke. And once it reaches the upper levels of the atmosphere where the winds are stronger, it can be carried relatively far downstream, ”said Alex Lamers, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
The National Weather Service said the particles in all that smoke were causing harmful effects on the health of people thousands of miles away.
For several days, states were trapped in a smoky haze, from Philadelphia, New York and even Maine.
Some states are issuing air quality warnings, urging people to take precautions as meteorologists warn of a thermal dome potentially worsening already dangerous conditions.
“Any additional heat wave wouldn’t be good news,” Lamers said.
Experts said unhealthy weather conditions could impact people with heart or respiratory problems or anyone doing heavy work or exercising outdoors.
“Particulate pollution has been shown to impact people’s hearts and lungs. These are very small particles and they can not only reach people’s lungs, but they can also pass into the bloodstream, ”said Martha Webster of Maine Dept. of Environmental Protection.
Respirologists recommend that you check the daily air pollution forecast for your area and avoid exercising outdoors.
“Even short-term blips have the potential to increase heart attacks, asthma attacks.” Pulmonologist Dr David Ingbar said.
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