This week has brought record-breaking warmth to many parts of New York state, making the end of February feel more like the end of April. Sunny skies gave way to clouds by Tuesday afternoon across portions of the state.

An approaching cold front is expected to bring high winds and even strong thunderstorms to the area, as ABC NY says a squall line will move through by Wednesday evening. Behind the storm, temperatures are expected to drop around 20 to 30 degrees, according to forecasts.

Winter is quite over yet.

But as this powerful, fast-moving system brought storms, tornadoes, and even snow to parts of the Midwest Tuesday night, why were the skies across New York state and the Hudson Valley veiled with a gray haze?

See Also: What Are the Strongest Tornadoes to Ever Hit New York State?

The National Weather Service in Albany says that this has been one of the driest and least snowy Februarys on record. 

Why Are the Skies Hazy in New York?

NBC says that wildfires in the American south as well as the Plains are causing the "hazier, smoky skies" across the Hudson Valley, and New York City metro area.

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As of Tuesday afternoon, AirNow was reporting moderate air quality with a rating in the 70s, in the middle of the moderate range.

Cross Roads Today says an explosive fire in the Texas panhandle has more than doubled in size since Monday, leading to thousands of evacuations by Tuesday. Strong winds and way above-average temperatures are fueling the spreading the blaze.

The Fire, Weather, & Avalanche Center says there were 59 fires as of Tuesday, affecting well over 200,000 acres in Texas alone.

*** UPDATE: CBS says that the Smokehouse Creek fire is now the second biggest fire in U.S. history, spanning over 1 million acres. ***

See Also: What Was New York State's Biggest Wildfire of All Time?

But while the skies are slightly murky looking across the Eastern U.S., this is nothing compared to the heavy smoke and orange-yellowish haze from the Canadian wildfires from June 2023, says NBC.

Many across New York will never forget the eerie skies brought on by smoke from the Canadian wildfires in late spring of 2023. New York and many parts of the United States experienced poor air quality and smoky, hazy skies, as plumes of smoke from wildfires in Quebec and Nova Scotia blanketed the state.

Earlier this past spring, New York experienced its own wildfires. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation says that from April 11 to 17, Forest Rangers were called to 26 wildfires in 16 counties across the state that burned nearly 1,000 acres of land.

NWS 2024 Severe Weather Preparedness Guide

Gallery Credit: Mary K

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