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West Coast wildfire smoke impacts West Michigan

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Posted at 10:25 AM, Aug 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-24 10:25:52-04

GRAND RAPIDS  — Widespread wildfires continue to burn along the West Coast in California near the San Francisco Bay and Central Coast areas. Dry weather patterns and erratic winds will only make fire conditions worse while some of these fires are already the largest in state history and still burning.

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The smoke from these fires is now moving throughout the country impacting West Michigan this week with a hazy and smoky look to our skies. The green coloring on each image you see represents the smoke traveling from the west coast fires to different parts of the country.

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This hazy and smoky forecast will stay in West Michigan through at least Thursday. It's happening because all the smoke from the fires gathered in what we call an anticyclone which is a circulation of winds around a center point of pressure. That anticyclone is now breaking up and dispersing into a zonal flow across the country which is a flat atmospheric flow allowing winds to move easily from east to west. The smoke is not expected to mix down into the lower levels of the atmosphere just leaving West Michigan with the hazy and smoky look to our cloud deck.

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The smoke impacts will give West Michigan a bit of worse air quality this week, the hazy and smoky sunshine and allow for very vibrant colors during sunrises and sunsets.