Russian wildfire smoke invades Inland Northwest | News
Floating high in the sky, a plume of smoke had meteorologists at the National Weather Service office in Spokane baffled. Visible on their satellite images, the plume was seen heading northeast 20-30,000 ft on a jet stream. They thought the smoke might have originated from wildfires in Colorado and Wyoming, but the plume came from the Pacific Ocean.
Turns out, the plume traveled about 5,000 miles from southeast Russia.
It took over a week for the plume to make its way from the Khabarovsk Territory where wildfires were burning. The blanketing smoke was captured by NASA’s Aqua satellite on June 25 with the heaviest plumes west of the Mamiya Strait.
What does this have to do with Spokane? NWS Spokane was able to capture the light layer of smoke as it traveled over the region.
“Our visible satellite picture can pick up smoke during early morning and early evening hours in the atmosphere,” Jonathan Fox, a NWS meteorologist, said. “We first suspected it was coming from Colorado and Wyoming, but since it was coming from the coast, that doesn’t work.”
Fox says the origin made sense because the plume parallels the upper level jet stream from the southwest.
“Every weather office in the Pacific Northwest was trying to figure out where this smoke was coming from,” Fox added.
During the daytime, the smoke is not visible because the sun shines right through it, but come evening time, the plume should theoretically mean a colorful sunset and sunrise. Fox says the moon should also look orange.