For the first time in 2014, the China Meteorological Administration and the Ministry of Environmental Protection issued an orange alert for air quality on Friday. This is the second-highest level of air pollution possible for the city, and smog is expected to loom over the city through at least Wednesday.
Beijing has seen several problems with air pollution over the past several years, and this is likely to be only the first of several stretches of poor air quality for the capitol city of China this year.
A strong area of high pressure east of Beijing has produced light winds across the region for the last few days allowing the air pollution to build.
The lack of rainfall during Beijing's dry season, combined with stagnant air help to set up the conditions for the air pollution to form. Small air particles and water droplets combine to form the air pollution, which are known to cause several health problems.
According to the United States Embassy, the level of particles peaked at 501 ppm (parts per million) on Tuesday, above the limit of 300 ppm recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
During the orange alert, factories must either shut down or lower their pollution levels. Those found breaching emission rules would be fined by the government.
Around 150 companies have closed or reduced production across the city during the recent stretch of poor air quality. Outdoor construction was also halted across the city in an attempt to limit the amount of air pollution.
Cars clog the traffic in Beijing's Central Business District on a hazy day, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014. A rare air pollution alert issued Friday in Beijing prompted health advisories and bans on barbeques, fireworks and demolition work, but fell short of the strictest measures which would include ordering half the city's cars off the streets. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)
High levels of air pollution problems will continue through Wednesday as winds will remain light with high pressure still in control. A cold front approaching from the west on Wednesday night will help to bring some increase in winds to the area which will stir up the atmosphere and reduce the amount of air pollution by Thursday.
Meteorologist Alan Reppert contributed to this story.
Damaging thunderstorms will threaten North Carolina to the southeast Pennsylvania on Wednesday.
Temperatures will plummet by as much as 40 degrees Fahrenheit in less than 24 hours along the I-95 corridor from New York City and Philadelphia to Washington, D.C.
A major winter storm will lash Illinois to Maine. It will unfold into a blizzard across portions of New England, unleashing more than a foot of snow.
With winter coming to a close, numerous cars are off the roadways and in body shops, as vehicles take a hit from the season's potholes and salt corrosion.
A storm system will move east through the Rockies and spread snow into the Plains during the day on Tuesday.
Rain is in the forecast leading up to the start of the Formula 1 Season in Melbourne this weekend.
One of the "great" all-time early season "heat wave"s. At least five dozen cities had record highs. Among the most notable.... Location: New Record(F): Old Record(F)/Year: Baltimore Airport 85 73/1973 Greater Baltimore (city) 95* 76/1890 Binghamton, NY 71 62/1977 Chicago, IL 80 71/1977 Richmond, VA 89* 81/1973 Washington, D.C. Airport 88 75/1923 Washington, D.C. 89 73/1973 Allentown, PA 79 67/1929 Harrisburg, PA 84 72/1890 Raleigh/Durham, NC 90 82/1973 (earliest 90-degree reading on record) Philadelphia, PA 83 73/1890 Detroit, MI 75 66/1946 Roanoke, VA 86 78/1973 Norfolk, VA 87 80/1923 Greensboro, NC 86 74/1973 Atlantic City, NJ 85 74/1973 highest ever for so early in the season
Chicago, IL (1923)
Record low pressure of 28.70" occurred during a late winter storm; heavy snow, thick glaze gales, much rain; $800,000 damage.
Gulf Coast (1993)
now and sleet fell across parts of Texas, ouisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. This was he start of what became know as the "storm f the century."