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The beautiful blue skies of the past couple days — a much deserved reward near the tail end of a particularly stormy summer — are no more thanks to the return of wildfire smoke.
It’s becoming an unfortunate new feature of New York City’s summer weather — wildfire smoke from the West Coast billowing east, adding to the haze here and taking air quality to dangerous levels not seen in years.
The smoke arrived early Sunday in the New York metro area and it’s expected to stick around for a couple of days.
Real-time Air Quality Index data from the EPA showed New York City’s AQI as of 6 p.m. was 58 — considered “Moderate” for everyone.
The skies above the city haven’t been inundated with the same levels of haze seen in previous months this summer, but a yellow tint has certainly dampened what had started out as an otherwise gorgeous weekend.
As recently as July, western smoke turned tri-state skies an oddly milky color.
The same phenomenon is happening now, as shown by an experimental U.S. government model known as the HRRR-Smoke model.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, says the experimental 3-D model lets it simulate the dispersion of smoke over varied terrain.
Smoke isn’t the only return visitor this weekend. Storm Team 4 says humidity picks up Sunday afternoon and will hang around for several days this week. Expect highs in the mid 80s.