Satellite images show Canada wildfire smoke, 'unhealthy' air quality arriving in Upper Midwest

Spacecraft images show the massive smoke from wildfires in Canada as it descends into the northern U.S. and, along with it, poor air quality.

Canada continues to have one of its worst wildfire seasons, with more than 400 fires sending smoke throughout Canada and into the U.S., creating air quality concerns. Last week, New York City faced its worst Air Quality Index rating on record when the wildfire smoke turned the skies orange and red for hours. 

Extreme wildfire activity, with more than half of the fires considered out of control, will continue to send smoke into the northern U.S. NOAA satellites tracking the smoke and weather patterns show where it's headed next.

More smoke dropping into the upper Midwest

NOAA's GOES East satellite has an instrument called the Advanced Baseline Imager, or ABI, that observes dust, haze, smoke and clouds 24 hours a day.

The Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, or CIRA, shared a loop from satellite imagery showing the wildfire smoke wrapping around a low-pressure system over the Midwest.


NOAA GOES 16 satellite images shows smoke over the Dakotas and Minnesota on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, from the wildfires in Canada. (NOAA)

The FOX Forecast Center is tracking northerly winds driving smoke down into the Upper Midwest. This is the same system responsible for the ongoing rain and storms for parts of the Great Lakes and Northeast

On Tuesday, GOES East showed the smoke swirling around the low-pressure system, avoiding the Great Lakes but dropping the smoke into the Dakotas, Nebraska, northwestern Minnesota, Iowa and as far south as parts of Kansas and Missouri.

By Wednesday morning, parts of Minnesota, including Minneapolis-St. Paul, and central and northern Wisconsin were experiencing "unhealthy for sensitive groups" or "unhealthy" air quality.


Air quality alerts in effect now.(FOX Weather)

Meanwhile, other areas in the Upper Midwest are under Code Yellow or moderate on the Air Quality Index.

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FOX Forecast Center is tracking smoke in the Upper Midwest from wildfires in Canada.

Smoke will continue pushing south from Canada, with degrading air quality seen as far south as Wisconsin and Illinois on Wednesday.

The Dakotas and Minnesota will experience moderate to thick wildfire smoke by Thursday morning.

Computer forecast models from the FOX Forecast Center suggest wildfire smoke could swing back into the Great Lakes and Northeast by Friday.

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