Canadian wildfires

The Mount Washington Observatory posted Tuesday on its Facebook page: "Today, the Whites are the Smokey Mountains due to all the wildfire smoke from Manitoba making its way into the region." (COURTESY PHOTO)

CONWAY — If you think it’s been a little hazier than the typical summer day in Mount Washington Valley, you’re right.

While it’s been hot and humid, it’s also been smoky for the past three days due to forest fires in Quebec and north the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. The sky is expected to clear Friday.

“Smoke from forest fires in Western Canada are once again being transported by upper air patterns, taking it down into New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania,” the U.S. National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, reported on its Facebook page Wednesday morning.

“There are two different streams across New England,” Meteorologist Derek Schroeter said by phone from Gray on Wednesday afternoon. “One is from north of the Upper Peninsula in Michigan and the other is from Quebec. Lower pressure over the Great Lakes (has forced the air into New England).”

According to the Canadian Broadcast Center, “Canada has been battling a very active and destructive fire season on multiple fronts this year. A warming climate, very dry environment and more extreme weather including severe thunderstorms has led to massive wildfires throughout the country.”

Thousands have been displaced by the wildfires in Alberta and northern Ontario according to the CBC.

There were 23 active wildfires burning across the province of Manitoba (north of Michigan) as of noon Monday, according to Dave Schafer, director of the Manitoba Wildfire Program.

So far 184 wildfires have been reported in Manitoba this year. The majority of the fires currently burning were started by lightning, Schafer told Global News on Monday.

While it’s been hazy, it hasn’t smelled like smoke. The reason for that, according to Schroeter, is that the smoke is too far aloft and under high pressure, “the air is circulating slower.”

"Since the air of the atmosphere shares many similar characteristics with fluid motion, we sometimes observe areas in the upper atmosphere, where the jet stream lives, where it is basically little or no wind," National Weather Service meteorologists wrote on the NOAA website. "When the jet stream is directing air currents southeastward from Canada, expect these bouts of smoke to continue."

Schroeter said according to the National Weather Service dispersion model, the smoke was expected to hover over the valley through Thursday until rain late in the evening moves it out of the area.

WMUR (Channel 9) meteorologist Kevin Skarupa said the weather is going to turn even more humid over the next few days, bordering on oppressive.

“Morning showers/thundershowers will give way to partly sunny skies on Friday along with a brief afternoon thundershower possible.

“Most of the weekend looks nice with lots of sun on Saturday then partly sunny skies with a chance of an afternoon thundershower on Sunday.”

Friday’s high temperature for Friday is 84 degrees with “a heavy thunderstorm” in the forecast.

The storm should create a break in the humidity and smoke for Saturday, where the forecast is for 89 degrees and partly sunny.

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