Those Canadian wildfires are, once again, bringing high smoke and haze-filled skies to Long Island and the region for the next few days.
But forecasters at the National Weather Service on Monday said Long Islanders shouldn’t expect a repeat of those dangerous air-quality days in June, when the air turned orange and thick with pollutants.
“We’re not expecting a repeat of June, but we are going to be dealing with some haze from wildfires burning on the Ontario-Quebec border,” said Dominic Ramunni, a weather service meteorologist based in Upton. “Though those fires are pretty far north, there is a surface high-pressure area anchored over the Midwest right now that is steering that smoke south through the Northeast and into our neck of the woods.”
But, Ramunni said, because of the “roundabout” path that smoke is now traveling, it’s allowing for it to disperse, thus becoming less dense.
Nevertheless, the weather service is calling for haze through Wednesday, before mostly sunny skies return Thursday.
In a statement Monday, the weather service said the smoke forecast indicates a "good deal of smoke" from the Canadian wildfires will drift southward into the region, although most will be northwest of New York City, the forecast said.
In advance of that, New York City Mayor Eric Adams issued a statement telling New Yorkers: “While we continue to actively monitor potential air quality concerns for Monday morning, currently, the impacts are projected to be mild, though New Yorkers will likely see hazy skies in the morning.” The mayor added that those with “preexisting health conditions” should take precautions.
The U.S. Air Quality Index tracked by the Environmental Protection Agency forecasts that the air quality for Suffolk County will likely be “moderate” — the second-best rating of its six tracked air quality categories — for the next three days, meaning air quality is “acceptable” but that there is some risk for some who are “unusually sensitive to air pollution.”
For Nassau, the AQI Monday is “good” — the best air-quality rating.
The Canadian Wildland Fire Information System tracking sites show dozens of wildfires currently burning in Ontario, though the closest are northeast of Peterborough, almost due north of Prince Edward Island on Lake Ontario — and well north of Rochester. In Quebec, the closest wildfires appear to be in a heavily forested area northwest of Montreal.
Still, officials reported smoke from those wildfires turned the skies over Greenland “black” over the weekend.
And, weather service meteorologists said that smoke is now drifting back southwest down through the northeast to Long Island.
The Canadian official CWFIS website reports that the 10-year average for wildfire events in Quebec is about 420 per season. This year? There have been 551.
And the 10-year average for hectares burned is 15,802.6. So far in 2023, it’s been a staggering 1,459,411.2 hectares. One hectare is the equivalent of 2.471 acres.
“The numbers have been off the charts,” Ramunni said.
While the haze will likely result in “brighter sunrises and sunsets” for the next few days, Ramunni said, there likely will be little other impact.
However, we are in for potentially record-setting temperatures Tuesday on Long Island, when forecasters are calling for a high in the low 80s.
The record for Islip is 80 degrees, set in 2002.
Those records have been kept only since 1963.
But Ramunni said we should see a high of at least 81 degrees Tuesday. The temperatures are unrelated to the overhead haze, he said.
“We’re going to be 10, maybe as much as 15 degrees, above normal for this time of year,” he said of Tuesday's weather. But the weather service is predicting daytime temperatures will return to the low- to mid-70s by the week’s end and by next week, the more seasonable 60s.