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Poor Air Quality from Western Wildfires Again Today

NBC Connecticut logo NBC Connecticut 7/27/2021 Kaitlyn McGrath
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Tuesday was another smoky day across parts of the state because of wildfires burning well to our west. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection once again urging residents to reduce outdoor activities until the smoke clears out and conditions improve later tonight.

While smoke wasn’t as thick Tuesday as what we saw Monday, there was still a noticeable haze in the sky. Daniel Goldberg, an assistant research professor at George Washington University, studies air quality and explained how common conditions like this are in Connecticut.

“This is very unusual but no unprecedented,” Goldberg said.“Certainly wildfires, large wildfires can bring this type of smoke every once in a while but this is generally as bad as it gets.”

And thankfully Tuesday in West Hartford, the air quality was much better than the day before.

“It’s still a little overcast but at least it’s not that awful heavy thick kind of smog yesterday it felt like it wasn’t good to be outside it wasn’t healthy,” said Kathleen Pencz of West Hartford.  “For me the sinuses are triggered by anything that’s in the air so I try and stay inside but I think for the children the poor air quality makes it more difficult to be running around and have energy.”

So instead, they had a play day inside.

Five-year-old Grant Wickersham of West Hartford says, “I did play in the basement. I played with my toys.”

And for Grant’s grandmother, who is visiting Connecticut from Anchorage, Alaska, the smoky skies was really unexpected.

“My eyes were a little watery and a little difficult to breathe,” explained Beth Wickersham.  “Today is so much better you can tell the skies are clear, the skies are blue.”

If you’re wondering why Tuesday wasn't as smoky and quite frankly smelly as yesterday, it’s because Monday we had really strong high pressure overhead and with high pressure you get sinking air which generally results in nice fair weather, but yesterday it just pushed smoke closer to the surface. This is why it appeared thicker and was so noticeable in the air you breathed. Tuesday, that high pressure isn’t nearly as strong and with a cold front approaching we should see some big time improvement after a few showers and storms roll through.

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