Federal authorities have temporarily grounded flights at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport “due to limited visibility” due to wildfire smoke blanketing the East Coast.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, departures are delayed until 2 p.m. ET on June 7. The agency has also delayed flights from the upper midwest over the US and on the East Coast to LaGuardia.
Newark Liberty International Airport, another major tourist hub nearby, also announced the delay. The airport has announced that “current smoke conditions” may affect flights and urged travelers to check with their airlines “to determine the status of your flight”.
According to FAA traffic manager Samuel Ausby, wind patterns carrying smoke across the northeast “could affect movement through airports”. More than 16,200 flights were delayed and 79 flights were canceled before 1pm on Wednesday, according to Flight knowledge.
The sky turned yellow and gray as acrid smoke triggered air quality warnings across the region on Tuesday as wildfire smoke billowed in from Canada causing hazardous air conditions across the northeastern United States. . Thirteen states have issued air quality warnings, covering an area of about 100 million people.
The smoke is expected to spread as far south as South Carolina. Thick smoke is expected to blanket New York City and Philadelphia through Wednesday.
New York City’s air quality index exceeded 200 on Tuesday night, one of the worst globally.
The city’s health commissioner Ashwin Vasan told reporters Wednesday that the city’s air quality is at its worst since the 1960s, with conditions expected to last for several days. .
Health officials have warned that hazardous air quality conditions can seriously harm people with breathing problems and other underlying medical conditions. People are encouraged to stay indoors and wear a properly fitted mask, such as an N95 respirator, when going out. Indoor air purifiers can also help reduce the harmful effects of wildfire smoke.
Amid the ongoing climate crisis, many climate scientists warn that wildfires could become more frequent and intense.