Wildfire smoke causes hazy skies in the Heartland

Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 1:27 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The past few days, we’ve had periods of haze due to the wildfires burning out west. The haze was enough to cut a few degrees off high temperatures Monday afternoon… Keeping the Metro in the upper-70s rather than the low to mid-80s.

Thankfully, the smoke has been high enough in the atmosphere, we haven’t had any air quality issues yet. The same - of course - can’t be said for those living along the west coast where air quality is deemed “Unhealthy” to “Hazardous".

Tuesday's Air Quality
Tuesday's Air Quality(WOWT)

Back here in the Heartland, smoke in the air can create more vibrant sunrises and sunsets. This is somewhat similar to how clouds can add to the look of a sunrise or sunset as well.

Smoke adds extra particles in the atmosphere. As the sun rises and sets, it travels a farther distance due to its angle. Oranges and reds are colors with longer wavelengths, meaning they can often make it through the smoke, while the other colors are scattered and filtered out. The oranges and reds are what reaches our eyes.

If you’ve noticed the sun looking more red around sunrise or sunset, this would be why. In fact, viewer David Rickers captured this photo of a red-hued sunset at Branched Oak Lake on Monday.

Monday's sunset
Monday's sunset(David Rickers)

This smoke will likely be sticking with us this week, becoming a bit thicker Wednesday into Thursday.

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