Wildfire smoke from Western Canada brings hazy skies to Ontario
Hazy skies and dramatic red sunsets will be a common sight in Ontario this week, thanks to the almost 150 wildfires currently raging across Alberta and B.C. — a disaster that has forced tens of thousands from their homes in Western Canada.
Here in Ontario, the effects of the wildfires will prove far less destructive. Smoke from the infernos was lifted by southeasterly winds towards the country's rugged north, and strong winds in upper levels of the atmosphere have since begun transporting the smoke thousands of kilometres to the east over a wide region that includes Toronto.
Looking a bit hazy #Ontario?— ECCC Weather Ontario (@ECCCWeatherON) May 9, 2023
It's high-level wildfire smoke from the Prairies. 💨 On the satellite, the smoke is the yellow-green area over northeastern and eastern Ontario. And at the surface, you can see the smoke with these @navcanada images at Earlton and Peterborough. #onwx pic.twitter.com/gZctZxpw6D
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has been monitoring the situation in Ontario, noting hazy conditions in northern and eastern Ontario on Monday, though no air quality warnings have been issued for the province as of Tuesday afternoon.
The wildfire smoke from out west has made its way into Ontario. #wildfires #albertafires pic.twitter.com/9VHDEv6sI9— ON Weather Chaser (@ONWeatherChaser) May 9, 2023
ECCC warned earlier today that the situation could change rapidly, stating that "Air quality and visibility due to wildfire smoke can fluctuate over short distances and can vary considerably from hour to hour."
Large area of smoke aloft on the satellite picture this morning stretching from Northeast Ontario, through Eastern Ontario, and continuing south of Nova Scotia #wildfires #onwx pic.twitter.com/wfL6PsSohr— Paul Colyn 🇳🇱🇨🇦 (@flyingdutchwx) May 9, 2023
Despite the lack of warnings for Ontario, ECCC reminded the public that "Wildfire smoke can be harmful to everyone's health even at low concentrations."
The picture below shows the full trajectory of the smoke from the #Alberta wildfires.— Robert Grove (@robertgwx) May 9, 2023
It travelled north & east across the #NWT & #Nunavut, then southeast across #Ontario, #Quebec & NE U.S.#ABStorm #ONStorm #QCStorm #NSStorm #NHwx #VTwx #MAwx
Source: https://t.co/RflGRXdx8b pic.twitter.com/IpPsa1QC79
Air quality may remain at a safe level as of Tuesday, however, smoke is most certainly in the air above the region. Satellite imagery shows the drifting plume blanketing the Great Lakes region, and photos of dramatic red sunsets have already begun to appear in Ontario and Quebec skies.
The haze from the wildfires in Alberta has made its way to Ontario and Quebec. The @NASA Modis satellite images show long range transport (LRT) of wildfire smoke from May 6th to May 8th. A red sunset in Montreal today.#haze #alberta #wildfires #smoke #nasa #modis #montreal pic.twitter.com/Zkg2jk1WYo— Yaasiin Oozeer (@YaasiinOozeer) May 8, 2023
A real-time tracking map reveals that as of around 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, the worst-affected area of the province is a band that includes Ottawa, Brockville, and Cornwall. Toronto currently sits at the outer edge of a less-concentrated smoke plume, with areas of the GTA to the east likely to see more hazy skies than residents living in the western parts of the region.
Or course, that doesn't mean residents in southwestern Ontario will be spared from the haze. A photo captured from Port Colborne on Monday evening shows a hazy sunset caused by smoke particles in the air.
Smoke from the Alberta wildfires has made it's way into Southern Ontario providing a hazy sunset this evening.— Chris Knox Photography (@ChrisKnoxPhotog) May 8, 2023
Colborne, Ontario#ShareYourWeather #ONwx #Wildfires @weathernetwork @AlbertaWildfire @StormHour pic.twitter.com/Szhe1bvjj2
Another shot captured in the region shows a reddish sun descending above a residential neighbourhood.
Closely cropped phone photo to avoid showing where I live, but it looked like the sun was resting on the neighbours’ roof vent pic.twitter.com/uKlD304EVg— Erin (@probabel) May 9, 2023
These hues are the result of red light easily passing through smoke particles, while blue light is blocked, adding an otherworldly red glow to sunsets and sunrises.
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