Floods grip Alabama and Florida as west coast wildfire smoke reaches Europe – US politics live | US news

Here’s some of the latest on the wildfires from the Associated Press, which reports that the smoke from the western United States is stretching clear across the country and even pushing into Mexico, Canada and Europe.

Susan Montoya Bryan writes that while the dangerous plumes are forcing people inside along the west Coast, residents thousands of miles away in the east are seeing unusually hazy skies and remarkable sunsets.

Although experts say the smoke poses less of a health concern for those who are farther away, and New Yorkers were flooding social media with shots of a spectacular sunset, on the west coast, air quality conditions were among some of the worst ever recorded.

Smoke cloaked the Golden Gate Bridge and left Portland and Seattle in an ashy fog, as crews have exhausted themselves trying to keep the flames from consuming more homes and even wider swaths of forest.

A person takes a walk along the waterfront near the Golden Gate Bridge, which is shrouded in heavy haze in San Francisco.

A person takes a walk along the waterfront near the Golden Gate Bridge, which is shrouded in heavy haze in San Francisco. Photograph: John G Mabanglo/EPA

Satellite images showed that smoke from the wildfires has traveled almost 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometers) to Britain and other parts of northern Europe, scientists said Wednesday.

The current weather system, which favors a westerly wind across the higher levels of the atmosphere, is to blame for the reach of the smoke, experts explained.

This RAMMB/NOAA satellite image shows various hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean and the hazy plume of smoke above the north east of the US.

This RAMMB/NOAA satellite image shows various hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean and the hazy plume of smoke above the north east of the US. Photograph: RAMMB/NOAA/NESDIS/AFP/Getty Images

“We always seem, at times, to get the right combination of enough smoke and the upper level jet stream to line up to bring that across the country, so we’re just seeing this again,” said Matt Solum with the National Weather Service’s regional operations center in Salt Lake City, Utah. “It’s definitely not the first time this has happened.”

Kim Knowlton, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York City, said she woke up Wednesday to a red sunrise and more haze.

She said millions of people who live beyond the flames can end up dealing with diminished air quality as it’s not uncommon for wildfire smoke to travel hundreds of miles.

Although the health impacts are reduced the farther and higher into the atmosphere the smoke travels, Knowlton and her colleagues said the resulting haze can exacerbate existing problems like asthma and add to ozone pollution.

Overnight Joe Biden continued his theme of calling Donald Trump a ‘climate arsonist’ and attempting to make the president’s response to wildfires a campaign issue.

Joe Biden
(@JoeBiden)

If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if more of America is ablaze? pic.twitter.com/DwCIoNkwk1


September 17, 2020


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