TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Instead of sunny skies and ocean breezes, Floridians found haze and smoke when they stepped outside Tuesday morning.
Leigh Spann, a meteorologist at Nexstar’s WFLA, said the haze is actually associated with Canadian wildfires.
“[The smoke] has come all the way down I-95 and should be with us for the next couple of days,” Spann said.
The New York Times reported that wildfires burning throughout Canada are contributing to the poor air quality lingering over portions of North America. According to the Times’ forecast, smoke and haze were expected to blow down the entire East Coast through Tuesday evening.
On Tuesday morning, the worst air quality in the U.S. was clustered in Florida. PurpleAir, which records air quality data, showed AQI readings up to 171 around the state.
AQI scores above 150 are considered “unhealthy” for everyone, according to the American Lung Association.
The Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County issued an Air Pollution Advisory “due to elevated levels of fine particulates until midnight” Tuesday.
“The haze has reduced air quality in parts of central and northern Florida and air quality remains unhealthy for sensitive people, especially those with asthma or respiratory problems,” WFLA meteorologist Eric Stone added. “With smoke sticking around this evening, look for amazing sunsets around 7:15 p.m.” Because polluted, smoky skies scatter light, they can make sunsets appear more vibrant.