Shore residents on Thursday will face another day of poor air quality linked to wildfires in Canada that transformed the midday sky into an eerie yellow-orange glow Wednesday, blocking sunlight and enveloping the region in an acrid, smokey odor.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has issued a code orange air quality alert Thursday for Ocean and Southeastern Burlington Counties, the National Weather Service said in a statement.
A code orange air quality alert means that air pollution concentrations within the region may become unhealthy for sensitive groups. Those groups include children, people suffering from asthma, heart disease or other lung conditions, as well as the elderly population in general.
“The effects of air pollution can be minimized by avoiding strenuous activity or exercise outdoors,” the statement said.
At approximately 3 a.m. Thursday, a federal air quality tracking site measured Ocean County’s conditions as “very unhealthy,” the second-worst category.
The NWS forecast called for “widespread haze” and “widespread smoke” across the region, though the west winds that propelled much of the smoke eastward on Wednesday will shift a bit. There will be a “slight chance” of showers between 3 and 4 p.m. and a slight chance of a thunderstorm later, but only about 20 percent.
The worst of the smoke, however, will be before 10 a.m. A north wind of 5 to 10 m.p.h. will become southeast in the afternoon.
Widespread haze will continue into the evening hours, with the wind predominantly coming from the south.