What would normally have been a pleasant sea breeze along the eastern coast of Florida was instead a hazy plume of smoke on Tuesday.
The smoky sky obscured the sunrise along the state’s East Coast beaches before moving inland and down to the ground, creating unhealthy air quality and, at times, reduced visibility across the state. The culprit: smoke from a wildfire burning in Quebec, south of the Hudson Bay, that took a rather unusual path to the southern United States.
The wildfire smoke drifted from Canada into the western Atlantic, said Sammy Hadi, a forecaster with the Miami office. From there, it got stuck behind a cold front and was pushed south along the East Coast before moving inland across Florida.
This is the same swath of smoke that created a haze across the sky in New York on Monday. The plume is expected to linger over Florida overnight and possibly into Wednesday morning.
On Tuesday afternoon, the smoke created air quality values across Florida ranging from moderate (yellow) to unhealthy (red). When air quality reaches an unhealthy level, AirNow, a federal operation that monitors air quality, recommends keeping outdoor activities light and short. For those with sensitivities, like asthma, it suggests moving activities indoors.
In the densest areas, over Central Florida and especially along Interstates 95 and 4, visibility has been reduced to three to five miles at times, forecasters in Jacksonville said.