Smoke from Australia’s bushfires reach New Zealand turning their once clear skies orange
Australians aren’t the only ones dealing with the effects from the ferocious bushfires — parts of New Zealand were blanketed with thick smoke which turned the sky a gloomy-looking orange.
Local Auckland resident Gala Georgette told AccuWeather during an interview that she has never seen anything like this before in her life.
„The mood in the city was eerie – it felt almost apocalyptic. It was very sobering. We have known about the Australian fires for months, but this made the reality and the severity of the situation unavoidably clear,” Georgette said. „Auckland is over 2000 km away from the fires, about the distance from Houston to New York, so the extent of the smoke coverage was really shocking. We all feel a bit helpless.”
|Auckland, New Zealand, is more than 1,200 miles from southeastern Australia where bushfires have raged since September, sparking evacuations and killing hundreds of millions of animals thus far. (Image via Google Maps)|
Many people stayed indoors during the event, and Georgette said the city was almost empty.
„There were no cars at the gas station, none of the usual chatter that you hear on the streets, no one around. When I was at the waterfront taking photos, the apartments were lined with families looking out their windows. The seagulls flying overhead were in distress. It was an unbelievable scene,” Georgette said.
Georgette remembers the light was completely normal in the morning but around 12 p.m., the light started turning yellow and within an hour the sky darkened to a deep orange color. Georgette had to turn the lights on in her house in the middle of the afternoon to see what she was working on.
„By 3 p.m. I had to put my work down because I couldn’t focus. It felt ‘wrong’ doing usual tasks. That’s when I went for a walk and took the photos,” Gala said.
In the image below, Georgette was enjoying the clear blue skies before Australia’s bushfire smoke took over the sky, which is shown on the right.
|The before picture on the left of a clear sky on and the after picture on the right of the orange sky two weeks later in Auckland, New Zealand. (Image via Twitter/GalaGeorgette)|
„Social media started blowing up,” Georgette said. „Everyone was posting photos from their backyards. We were all a bit scared.”
„I was born and raised in Auckland and I have never seen anything even close to this. We have had some ‘red’ sunsets in the past due to Australian fires, but nothing like this. I also lived in Melbourne (Australia) for two years. There was a heatwave in 2013 and several rural areas around Melbourne suffered from bushfires but, even then, the city of Melbourne didn’t experience anything like what I saw in Auckland,” Georgette said.
During the event, Georgette saw that Asthma New Zealand issued a caution and asked all asthmatics to check their inhalers.
„The morning after the smoke event, my lungs felt heavier than usual and I have a cough. I was at the doctor today and she said that she has been wheezing. Auckland’s air is generally very clean considering the population of the city, so we definitely noticed a difference,” Georgette said.
|Smoke from the Australian Bushfire shrouding everything in orange. (Image via Twitter/GalaGeorgette)|
AccuWeather Meteorologist Adam Douty said the sky looks orange due to different sizes of particles in the atmosphere scattering light in different ways.
„On a clear day, particles in the atmosphere scattered blue light, which is why the sky appears blue. The smoke particles in the atmosphere are a different size than what we typically see, and thus it scattered a different color,” Douty said.
„In this case, it scatters orange light. In some cases, the particles of smoke can be slightly larger or smaller, or at different elevations in the atmosphere, which can scatter different colors such a red,” Douty said.
The orange tint to the sky gave locals and tourists the feeling of looking through a sepia filter.
A blood-red sky has been seen in parts of Australia where locals have taken to social media to show the eerie scene.
The wind is to blame for the smoke traveling such extreme distances, which can be seen in the satellite image below.
„A strong eastern wind in advance of an approaching cold front, the same wind that fueled the flames, swept the wind towards New Zealand.
The concentration of smoke is much greater than is typically seen due to the size and intensity of the fires.
|This photo shows the smoke from southeastern Australia being transported, by the wind, to New Zealand on Saturday, January 4 (Photo/RAMMB)|
„It is possible Tasmania sees some smoke around the middle of the week,” Douty said.
„The main thing I want to stress is how unprecedented this was. The world has a tendency to group Australia and New Zealand, but the geographical distance between the two places is huge,” Georgette said. „They need all the help they can get at the moment. If you are able to donate, please do so.”
Local police in Auckland, New Zealand, have asked residents to stop calling the nation’s emergency hotline to report the issue.
A cold weather emergency has been issued for Broward County, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
Officials at the say the one-day warning — initiated by the county’s Homeless Assistance Partnership — will be in effect from 6:30 p.m. Sunday to 10 a.m. Monday.
According to the National Weather Service, South Florida temperatures are expected to dip into the low 50s and high 40s. Low temperatures will remain in the mid to upper 50s through Tuesday night. The northeast portion of Florida is under a frost advisory with temperatures in the mid to upper 30s.
Police are asking those who don’t have a place to stay in Broward report to the following pickup locations by 6:30 p.m. Sunday or to any cold-night shelter locations.
- The Northeaster Transit Center in Pompano Beach
- The Salvation Army in Fort Lauderdale
- The Broward Outreach Center in Hollywood
- Broward Outreach Center: 2056 Scott Street in Hollywood
- Salvation Army, 1445 W Broward Blvd in Fort Lauderdale
- Central Homeless Assistance Center: 920 NW 7th Ave in Fort Lauderdale
- North Homeless Assistance Center: 1700 Blount Road in Pompano Beach
For more information contact: 954-563-4357
A storm tapping into a fresh plunge of cold air will lay a swath of accumulating snow from the upper Ohio Valley to New England from Tuesday into Wednesday.
The storm around the middle of next week will follow two rounds of wintry weather in the region, including one during the first half of the weekend.
Late Sunday through Monday, a round of light to moderate snow is likely near and north of Interstate 80, with a general coating to an inch or two expected.
Monday morning commutes around Erie, Pennsylvania, and Buffalo and Syracuse, New York, could be slippery.
A storm set to form across the lower Ohio Valley on Monday night and swing through the mid-Atlantic and New England from Tuesday into Wednesday will be the next snowmaker in the region.
This storm’s track could allow accumulating snow to fall farther south and east than its two predecessors.
A swath of accumulating snowfall is forecast to extend from a portion of the upper Ohio Valley through the central Appalachians, New York state and New England.
„Parts of interstates 79, 80, 86 and 90 will be impacted Tuesday into Tuesday evening as this quick-moving blast of snow moves through the region,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said.
„By Wednesday, the steadiest and heaviest of the snow should be confined to Maine and Atlantic Canada as the storm intensifies and moves northeastward,” he added.
Pittsburgh, State College and Scranton, Pennsylvania; Syracuse and Albany, New York; Burlington, Vermont; Manchester, New Hampshire; Pittsfield and Springfield, Massachusetts; and Portland and Bangor, Maine, are among some of the communities that could face accumulating snowfall and slippery travel with this event.
There is the potential for a widespread 1-3 inches of snow with pockets of locally higher amounts from eastern Ohio to Pennsylvania, the mountains of West Virginia and New York state.
Snowfall totals of a 6 inches or more are most likely to occur in New England and Atlantic Canada, where the storm will slow down and intensify.
Portland, Maine, could wind up with yet another heavy snow event, following a December in which the city received nearly double its average monthly snowfall of 13.2 inches.
Rain mixed with snow is forecast for the rest of the major I-95 cities of the Northeast, but any slight shift in the track of the storm could bring a longer period of snow to this corridor.
At this juncture, commuters in the northwestern suburbs of Philadelphia, New York City and Boston will be at greatest risk of experiencing slippery travel late on Tuesday or Wednesday morning.
Areas downwind of the eastern Great Lakes will receive more snow in the storm’s wake as the lake-effect snow machine kicks into high gear.
„Travel could be difficult along the New York State Thruway and I-90 in northwest Pennsylvania as locally heavy snow squalls combine with gusty winds to reduce visibility and make for slippery roadways,” Pydynowski said.
The snow showers and squalls will ramp up as cold, gusty winds rush in behind the storm.
„After a mild start to January, Wednesday will be a wake-up call for many in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast,” Pydynowski said.
„A blast of colder air combined with gusty winds will keep AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures in the single digits and teens much of the day across interior parts of the Northeast and New England,” he added.
The harsh winds will settle down on Thursday, and conditions are forecast to trend milder by the end of the week as a new storm system approaches from the west.
Download the free AccuWeather app to check the forecast in your area. Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.