Weather experts say drifting smoke from Canadian wildfires is to blame for the haze that blanketed parts of Florida on Tuesday.
The plume of smoke currently hovering over South Florida was brought into the area by a cold front that moved in on Monday, a forecaster with the National Weather Service’s (NWS) Miami office told Newsweek by phone. The smoke has resulted in reduced visibility and reduced air quality in impacted areas. It is expected to continue lingering over Florida into Wednesday morning.
Floridians have been advised to listen to their local authorities for information on air quality and recognize the impacts smoke has on visibility, the forecaster told Newsweek.
An estimated 375 fires were burning “out of control” in Canada as of September 27, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center’s latest situation report. This year brought Canada’s worst wildfire season on record, with more than 6,500 fires reported throughout Canada so far this year.
Smoke from Canadian wildfires impacted the U.S. throughout the summer, prompting air quality alerts in several northern states and along the East Coast. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued alerts over the summer warning Americans to be careful while breathing in smoky areas. People in impacted areas were advised to stay indoors whenever possible and avoid exercising outside. Americans were also urged to keep tabs on the air quality measurements in their area.
According to the government website AirNow, parts of Florida had air quality measurements that ranked “unhealthy” or “unhealthy for sensitive groups” on Tuesday.
Miami-Dade County officials issued a similar warning for sensitive groups, noting their county at the time had “moderate” air quality levels.
As some counties issued air quality warnings, local NWS offices shared images on X showing how the smoke was impacting the state.
NWS Miami posted satellite imagery Tuesday on X showing smoke sifting into Florida and other parts of the Southeastern U.S.
The NWS Miami office also posted images of the haze in a thread on X showing how the smoke was impacting visibility in downtown Miami, Fort Lauderdale and downtown West Palm Beach.
Earlier Tuesday, the NWS office in Melbourne posted a photo showing how the wildfire smoke had created an “obscured sunrise” that morning.
The NWS referred Newsweek to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) for further information on the impact the smoke is having on Florida’s air quality. Newsweek reached out to the FDEP by email on Tuesday.