FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — An orange sky and falling ash sound like a scene from a movie, but it was reality for those waking up in the San Francisco Bay Area on Wednesday.
Strong winds over the past few days transported ash from raging wildfires in Northern California and the Sierra Nevada.
As the winds weaken aloft, gravity will take over as the primary vertical transport of the smoke.
Suspended smoke will descend closer to the surface and could lead to darker skies and worsening air quality today. This is beyond the scope of our models so we rely on your reports!
— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) September 9, 2020
According to the National Weather Service Bay Area, the ominously dark sky is due to a suspended layer of smoke aloft.
Larger particles of ash are falling to the ground but the smaller particles of ash are suspended in the air.
People across the Bay Area have woken to a surreal scene: smoke from wildland fires across the state have blown in, painting the sky shades of orange. Salesforce Tower is barely visible and the Coca-Cola sign still shines bright as the sun tries to pierce through.#SanFrancisco pic.twitter.com/mHzdkszxLX
— Jungho Kim / 김정호 (@jkimphoto) September 9, 2020
Smoke particles scatter sunlight that results in the color red or orange.
Even the sun’s rays have struggled to penetrate the thick smoke.
People really don’t know what to do right now. Everyone on the Embarcadero is stopping to record the sky and chit chatting in a way I haven’t seen since pre-pandemic @sfchronicle pic.twitter.com/ueKQ4g7WTD
— Jessica Christian (@jachristian) September 9, 2020
The smoke across the Bay Area is dense and toxic which agencies are urging residents to stay inside until smoke levels subside.