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Wildfire smoke eyes the Deep South

Will be a bit heavier than previous instances of smoke in Alabama
Smoke in the skies as of late Tuesday.
Smoke in the skies as of late Tuesday.(WSFA 12 News)
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 8:13 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Our skies are about to get a bit hazier and milkier here in Alabama.

The reason? A plume of thicker smoke is heading in our direction. That smoke is originating from numerous fires -- including some larger ones -- that continue to burn out West.

Smoke in the atmosphere at 7am Thursday.
Smoke in the atmosphere at 7am Thursday.(WSFA 12 News)

It’s happening because as the fires burn day after day, they produce extreme amounts of smoke. That smoke then rises into the atmosphere, builds up and usually spreads north, northeast, east, southeast, or south.

The exact path the smoke takes depends on the exact wind speed and direction up in the atmosphere where the smoke resides. For the next few days, that path will lead right to the Southeast, Tennessee Valley and Ohio Valley.

Smoke in the atmosphere at 1am Friday.
Smoke in the atmosphere at 1am Friday.(WSFA 12 News)

Yep, that certainly does include us here in Alabama!

We’re likely not going to see conditions that lead to big air quality problems or health concerns, but this will be a rather impressive push of smoke for this part of the country.

Since the smoke will mainly be elevated quite a ways up in the sky, we’re only expecting minor air quality and breathing problems. This would only be for those especially sensitive to the smoke particles.

Smoke will return to the skies over Alabama as wildfires continue to burn out West.
Smoke will return to the skies over Alabama as wildfires continue to burn out West.(WSFA 12 News)

What you will notice from Thursday to Saturday is a milky/hazy appearance to the sky despite the sun being out. You’ll also notice some more vibrant sunrises and sunsets in which the sun takes on a redder color.

It’s difficult to forecast wildfire smoke movements and concentrations beyond 48 hours, so we don’t have an exact forecast beyond Friday at this point.

We will say that it is very possible conditions stay smoky and hazy through the entirety of the weekend. You can always check the smoke forecast from NOAA by clicking here.

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