Smoke may be seen over county

Published 10:00 am Saturday, July 24, 2021

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If the sky looks a bit hazy first thing Saturday morning, it most likely isn’t fog.

Smoke from ongoing wildfires in Washington, Oregon and Northern California have drifted over the east coast, causing smoke haze to appear in the sky as it travels further west.

Matt Sena, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, said that the smoke haze was already visible in the sky Friday morning in Metro Atlanta.

“It’s not as hazy as the I-20 northward area, but we’re seeing it a little more [in Peachtree City]” Sena said. “You’ll probably see a little bit of it [in Troup County] but not as much as up here.”

Sena said that the sky may appear more orange or red during sunrise and sunset Saturday and Sunday due to the smoke haze. The smoke would not usually be as visible now as it would any other time of the year, but weather conditions around Atlanta and surrounding areas have been slightly more moist due to rainy weather from earlier this week, Sena said.  Mainly what the Atlanta area is experiencing right now are smoke particles, Sena added, and said that the smoke may advance overnight as the air cools and create the smoky haze.

“The pattern isn’t really going to disperse [the smoke,] it’s just going to kind of settle over the area,” Sena said.

“Right now, I don’t anticipate it getting significantly worse, but there’s no expected shift in the weather pattern to completely push it away.”

Sena warns that residents could smell smoke in the air at sunrise and sunset, but otherwise, the moving smoke haze should not severely affect the air quality in the Troup County area. Sena said he received reports from Atlanta earlier Friday on residents smelling smoke but that he himself did not smell it in Peachtree City.

“The majority of [the smoke] is higher in the atmosphere, so right now, there probably won’t be a significant impact to ground level quality,” he said.  “Really, we’re just going to be hot due to the warm weather and lack of wind … this time of year, we start to see some marginal air quality days anyway.”

According to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, the air quality in Atlanta is “moderate” as of Friday.