Smoke From Canada Wildfires to Impact Chicago, NYC

By Jordan Root, Meteorologist
July 31, 2014; 5:02 AM ET
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An increase in smoke particles could lead to more vibrant sunrises and sunsets for many. (Photo/AccuWeather)

Ongoing wildfires in Ontario and western Canada will impact areas across the Great Lakes to the Northeast through the weekend.

Smoke from these fires will be the main concern for folks downwind of them. Strong winds aloft will continue to blow the smoke into the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes and the Northeast and could cause some problems.

Reduced air quality is expected to arise over the next few days and perhaps longer if the smoke settles near the surface.

People who have respiratory illnesses will want to pay close attention to the air quality and limit time spent outside if it lowers to hazardous levels.

Smoke as seen from NASA's Aqua/MODIS satellite over the northern Great Lakes July 24. (Photo/NASA)

Motorists could face travel issues due to lowered visibility if enough smoke mixes down from above.

The intensity of the smoke in the United States will be greatest for areas closer to the fires. The Upper Midwest and northern Great Lakes will likely face the densest smoke, although most of it will remain at high levels in the atmosphere.

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There are several source regions from which this smoke is coming from. Several hundred acres are currently on fire across portions of Ontario, according to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

However, most of the smoke is originating from the Northwest Territories in Canada where millions of acres have burned.

A dip in the jet stream, a fast-moving river of air aloft, can be blamed for the arrival of the smoke.

All of these fires will continue to contribute a smoky and gloomy haze across central Canada to the eastern United States that will limit sunshine at times.

Although the smoke will generally bring more bad than good, it is expected to provide more vibrant sunrises and sunsets for many.

Fire and smoke analyzed by satellite on July 30. (Image/NOAA)

"Additional particles in the sky, in this case smoke, can scatter the sun's rays more than normal when the sun angle is low, such as during sunset," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mark Paquette said.

Spectacular displays of red and orange may be able to be seen from Minneapolis to Chicago, Pittsburgh, and even as far east as New York City.

Some people near Chicago have already taken notice to an increase in sunset colors and more colorful sky scenes are expected to occur over the coming days.

If you see a beautiful sunset, send us your pictures! Tweet your photos to @breakingweather or upload them on our Fan Page.


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