The Red Sky, But Why?

Wildfires have been raging out west and across Canada for weeks now. It is not often that wildfires across the Western U.S. and Canada impact the weather in your hometown. Over the weekend and into your Monday, the wildfires did influence your weather.

Here is a look at some of the wildfires across Canada from Monday evening. The white circle is the area where wildfires were burning in Canada. The “cloud streaks” moving from south to north are where the smoke plumes/fires are burning.


Take a look at what clouds looked like Monday evening. The clouds are the bright white puffy features. Smoke appears as a milky, transparent feature on the satellite. Much of the midwest had some thick haze and smoke Monday.

Codnexlab Goes East Regional Northcentral Truecolor 00 51z 20210720 Map 33 1n 10 100

Another way to look at the wildfire smoke plumes is from NOAA’s Office of Satellite and Product Operations. The orange represents heavy smoke in the atmosphere.

Wildfire Smoke

Fires create plumes of smoke when the burning substance is not receiving enough oxygen.  Smoke traveled over 2,000 miles from Canada and the Western United States into the Great Lakes through the Jet Stream (winds at 30,000 feet acting as train tracks for air).

2019 Wwtv

The Jet continues to bring a west/northwest wind today.


After a cold front passage, this afternoon the wind shifts more northerly.


The wind shift brings much less haze and smoke in the forecast Wednesday.


More smoke returns this weekend, assuming fires continue to burn.


The smoke left some red skies overhead. Smoke absorbs most of the visible light from the sun. It reflects the orange and red hues, however leading to a reddish/orange hue. This is most visible to the naked eye near sunrise and sunset. The moon also gave off a reddish tint as well. We received wonderful viewer photos of the red sun.


Milens 4

Milens 2

We also caught some good snapshots on our Doppler 9&10 Skycams. The first is Stanwood. Look closely at the bottom left corner of the photo.


We captured another good one over the soo locks. The red circle is the sun setting Monday evening.


The last is home to many beautiful sunsets. The sun is setting in Leland Monday evening, giving off a hazy red look to the sunset.


Continue to send in photos to the Doppler 9&10 Weather Team. Smoky skies look to return to the forecast late this week.

Categories: Weather