How smoke from California wildfires made it to DC area

WASHINGTON — Smoke from at least three California wildfires is blowing through the mid-Atlantic region, but lingering haze and scents likely won’t stick around for much longer.

“It’s typically not something you see quite often around here,” said Brandon Fling, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The jet stream, or strong upper level winds, steered the smoke to the mid-Atlantic region, some 3,000 miles away from its origin, Fling said.

“It was responsible for taking that smoke along the West Coast and pushing up over Canada, and it was able to actually come down from the north because we had a low-pressure trough off the Eastern Seaboard. That kind of helped steer the smoke down and across the mid-Atlantic here in the D.C. area,” he said.

Fling says some area residents claim to have smelled it this past week, The Washington Post reported.

“We think some of that smoke was able to mix down. We did have a portion of the area, mainly north of the D.C. area in the Baltimore region, did have a Code Orange alert for air quality, and that’s really for unhealthy air for sensitive groups … It was a really a combination of this smoke, plus the normal pollutants in the air (that) really resulted in those conditions.”

Fling says weekend rain and cooler air should soon make things better.

“With the precipitation that we’ve had and with this cold front getting closer, it’s really been helping to mix things out. From here on out, we should see gradual improvements.”


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