On Wednesday 7 June as smoke from Canadian wildfires drifted south covering cities in a thick yellow haze schools along the U.S. East Coast canceled outdoor activities, airline traffic halted, and millions of Americans were advised to stay inside.
Almost the entire Atlantic seaboard received air quality alerts from the American National Weather Service. The high concentrations of tiny particulates in the air have been blamed for respiratory difficulties, according to health officials from Vermont to South Carolina and as far west as Ohio and Kansas.
President Joe Biden wrote on Twitter-
“It’s crucial that Americans who are exposed to dangerous air pollution, especially those with health conditions, listen to local authorities to protect themselves and their families.”
The greatest wildfire smoke outbreak to cover the Northeastern United States in more than 20 years, according to U.S. private forecasting firm AccuWeather, was distinguished by thick haze and soot that extended from high elevations to ground level.
Some locals reported feeling uncomfortable as they watched New York’s iconic skyline, which is often visible for miles, appear to disappear in a surreal mist of smoke.
Mohammed Abbas observed as he went along Broadway in Manhattan, “It makes breathing difficult.”
“My driving road test for my license was scheduled for today, but it was canceled.”
People working outside, like Chris Ricciardi, proprietor of Neighbor’s Envy Landscaping in Roxbury, New Jersey, found the smokey air particularly difficult to breathe. He said that his team was reducing work hours and donning masks for excessive pollen.
“We don’t have the luxury to stop working. What can you really do about it? We want to limit how much smoke we are exposed to.”
Fashion stylist Angel Emmanuel Ramirez said he and other employees at a Givenchy branch in Manhattan started to feel unwell and shut down early when they saw the smoke odor infiltrating the store.
“It’s so powerful, you’d think the blaze was just across the river, not up in Canada.”
Governor Kathy Hochul of New York described the situation as an “emergency crisis,” noting that the air pollution index in some areas of her state was eight times higher than average.
The Federal Aviation Administration was obliged to halt air traffic into the New York City region and Philadelphia from elsewhere on the East Coast and upper Midwest, with aircraft delays averaging roughly a half hour. This was due to the haze’s reduced visibility. Sports, field trips, and recesses were canceled at schools all throughout the East Coast.
Actress Jodie Comer had trouble breathing during the first ten minutes of a matinee performance of “Prima Facie” on Broadway because of the bad air quality. When the program resumed, a production spokesman announced that understudy Dani Arlington filled in for Comer as Tessa.
Even Major League Baseball was affected because Wednesday’s home games for the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies were postponed. Both a WNBA women’s basketball game in Brooklyn and a National Women’s Soccer League match in Harrison, New Jersey, were postponed.
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According to Airnow, where 100 is considered “unhealthy” and 300 is considered “hazardous,” the air quality index (AQI), which monitors critical pollutants such as particulate matter created by fires, was significantly higher than 400 in several regions.
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