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Haze and smoke continues over Triad; slowly improving

Smoke from Western US wildfires is here, and may make it tough to breathe for those with asthma or respiratory issues

GREENSBORO, N.C. — "Why is it so hazy outside?" That's a question boggling many minds across the Triad over the last couple of days.

Well, this change of skies is due to the western US wildfire smoke plumes making their way all the way here.  The winds in the upper levels of the atmosphere help to push that air highly pullulated right here. The jet stream, the body of fast-moving winds high up in the atmosphere traveling from west to east, is set up in a trough pattern. This pattern is described by a "U"-shape. 

Credit: WFMY

Imagine this: a funnel of air flowing in the shape of the letter "U" with the upper-left most portion of the winds starting in an area of many wildfires in
Canada and northern California. The winds continue to create that "U" curve with the base of that "U" just offshore of the mid-Atlantic. This direct flow pattern puts us right in the pocket to get that air mass here.

Unfortunately, the pattern is not expected to change much through Friday. In fact, the "U" base will shift slightly northward, which will help to push more of that smoky air into the Triad. This haziness will limit the visibility across the Triad and will be more pronounced around sunrise and sunset. 

Credit: WFMY

As of Wednesday afternoon, the state of North Carolina is under weather alerts related to air quality. Most of the state is under a "Code Orange" alert through midnight Thursday. This is a warning for all communities with respiratory-related issues to limit time outdoors and avoid outdoor exercise. It is also encouraged for sensitive groups to wear masks outdoors to aid in filtering those pollutants from entering their respiratory system.