Today’s forecast contains a rather unusual item for our area: thick wildfire smoke. The jet stream has pushed smoke from fires burning across the western states all the way across the continent and there’s so much of it that you’ll really notice a difference today. If you were up for sunrise, you probably saw the blood red color of the rising sun as the smoke bent and deflected the other colors of the visible spectrum. As the sun gets higher in the sky, that will become less apparent, but smoke will be thick enough to significantly reduce the amount of energy making it to the surface. You’ll notice that in the form of dimmer shadows and cooler temps, much like if there was a thin overcast ahead of an approaching storm.
Unfortunately, not all the smoke will remain elevated above the surface. Model guidance and observations this morning both indicate that smoke is settling down towards the ground and will stick around until this afternoon, especially in southern NH and the mountains of Maine. This means in those areas you might smell smoke if you’re outside, and air quality will be adversely impacted. Most stations to our west are reporting air quality conditions that are “unhealthy for sensitive groups”. So if you’re sensitive to air quality issues (folks with asthma etc.), take it easy outside especially this morning.
In “normal” weather, a cold front will approach the area this afternoon with the potential for some showers and storms to pop up as a result. The strongest storms appear to be to our west as the front doesn’t quite get here in time today, but we should get at least a few storms to pop up in the warm and humid airmass ahead of the front. A line of stronger storms may approach from the west around sunset, but it should run out of fuel before it can cause too much trouble in our area. The primary impacts will be some additional rain and a few rumbles especially in NW NH.
Temps will be held down a bit by the smoke and will range from the mid 70s up north to the low 80s in the south.
Smoke should mostly clear out of the area (for now) tomorrow.