Western Wildfire Smoke Thickens in New England

The smoke from wildfires in the west will look like a layer of clouds by late Wednesday in New England, the most pronounced muting of the sun we've seen in the last few days

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Hurricane Sally has been in the national spotlight, and with good reason. The storm made landfall Wednesday morning as a category two hurricane, packing 105 mph estimated sustained wind. The gusts lashed the coastline, caused significant damage near the point of landfall in Gulf Shores, Alabama, along with a much larger area of life-threatening flash flooding and coastal storm surge. 

Here at home in New England, we’re keeping our eye on a few big players in the forecast, but Sally isn’t one of them. 

Wildfires in the western part of the United States continue to send huge plumes of smoke high into the sky and the wind currents in the middle and upper atmosphere continue to blow that smoke over New England.

In fact, the smoke will look like a layer of clouds by late Wednesday, the most pronounced muting of the sun we've seen in the last few days. In the high summits of northern New England, the smoke may even be perceptible by smell at day’s end as a busy wind across New England helps to stir air through the atmosphere. 

That same busy wind from the southwest – gusting up to 30 mph at times – is ushering in milder air that provides a 30 degree rebound from 40s Wednesday morning to 70s in the afternoon. We will have a milder night Wednesday wiht temperatures generally in the 50s. 

The continued southwest wind Thursday will mean temperatures climb just a touch higher – near 80 degrees – by the afternoon ahead of an approaching cold front. The front from the northwest will deliver a few showers to northern New England Thursday morning and midday, then southern New England in the evening. It will not drop much rainfall but serve as the front edge to new, much cooler air. 

The new air Friday will keep high temperatures only in the 60s with morning clouds and the slight chance of a shower. The clouds will give way to increasing sunshine during the afternoon, but a chilly northerly wind will bring new, Canadian air into New England for the weekend.

Sunshine will be plentiful Saturday and Sunday, but most of the days will be spent in the 50s, struggling to get to or barely surpass 60 degrees. The air this weekend will be cool enough that our First Alert Team will be watching for possible frost in valleys as far south as southern New Hampshire, central and western Massachusetts. We’ll be keeping a close eye and will fine tune as we draw closer. 

Next week continues to look dry in our exclusive 10-day forecast. The remnant of Sally will contribute to a huge storm in the western Atlantic, though, so we’ll keep an eye on that setup in the ocean. For right now, we don’t look to be directly involved in how it unfolds.

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