West Coast wildfire smoke: Impacts and timeline for Nebraska
Wildfires are currently raging along the West Coast and have been for weeks now causing widespread damage and even death. But on top of the fires, large smoke plumes are now blanketing across the sky in many states, including Nebraska. This has prompted several questions about potential health impacts and even the weather around the Capital City.
Starting Monday, smoke from the West Coast entered several states thanks to bands of strong wind present high in the atmosphere. This phenomena, also known as the jet stream, pushed smoke right towards Nebraska. As a result, many people are grabbing their cameras to take photos of the milky sunrises and sunsets. But others are fearful of how it might impact their health.
According to the Lancaster County Health Department, smoke that enters the atmosphere is toxic because it contains several hazardous pollutants that can impact ones health. When smoke reaches the surface, health risks increase for those who have asthma or other health issues.
As of early Wednesday morning, smoke is sitting high in the atmosphere over southeast Nebraska. Those with highly sensitive respiratory conditions still might feel its impact today, but conditions could worsen by the weekend. Atmospheric mixing today and the next few days might bring some of the smoke to the surface mainly in central and western Nebraska. As a result, it is recommended that you limit your time outdoors if you have a respiratory condition.
Concerning the weather around Nebraska, the smoke isn’t thick enough to have much of an impact. Although, temperatures might be a few degrees cooler out west the next few days. This is a result of sunlight being filtered before it reaches the surface thanks to higher concentrations of smoke in the atmosphere. Forecast models show smoke lingering around Thursday through Saturday for Nebraska. For the latest on the smoke forecast, make sure to watch Channel 8’s Storm Alert Forecast the next few days.
Meteorologist Brittany Foster