Wildfire smoke causing pretty sunsets in Michigan

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite photos showed how skies above Michigan (right) looked on Monday versus a typical day (on the left). Smoke from wildfires out west has drifted over Michigan.

CADILLAC — Pictures of orange skies fill your social media feed. They're on television and news sites.

And if you've been watching the sunsets and sunrises the past couple of days, you'll find orange skies here in Michigan as well.

The wildfires in western states are 2,000+ miles away. But the smoke from those fires is having an impact on our dusks and dawns.

Over the weekend, smoke from the western states' wildfires moved over Michigan, according to Sabrina Jauernic, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Gaylord.

The smoke is five-to-six miles above us.

"It's pretty close to the jetstream level. If not, maybe a little bit below," Jauernic said.

That's too high up for us to smell and likely too high up to be impacting our air quality on the ground, Jauernic told the Cadillac News. It's also probably not blocking out enough sun to impact temperatures, Jauernic said.

Instead, the smoke blocks blue light, giving our sunrises and sunsets an extra dose of red and orange.

"Smoke particles will kind of scatter out the blue light, "Jauernic explained.

With the blue light stymied, it's red and orange light that penetrates through the smoke cloud, creating the extra-orange sunrises and sunsets you may have seen over the past couple of days.

But the effect is soon to slip away.

Jauernic said a cold front that is now over the northern Plains will drag cold air down from Ontario, clearing away the smoke.

However, the smoke could return later on.

Depending on the jetstream's movement, "We'll probably see more smoke in the future," Juaernic said.

Cadillac News