Don't let the sunshine fool you--Vancouver skies aren't in the clear just yet.
While Environment Canada's forecast calls for a week of sunshine and soaring temperatures in the Lower Mainland, wildfire smoke from south of the border could cause poor air quality locally.
The federal weather forecasting department hasn't issued an air quality advisory, but as of Wednesday, Sept. 30 at noon, the Air Quality Index (AQI) is listed as moderate, which means that the air quality is acceptable, not good. As a result, some pollutants in the air may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.
Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.
Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lindquist tells Vancouver Is Awesome in a phone interview that the smoke is expected to remain through the weekend. That said, he notes that the air quality won't be as bad as it was earlier this month when the city saw 10 days of advisories.
"We think that in the next 24 hours [the smoke] won't surface with much intensity, but maybe late Thursday through Friday night," explains Lindquist. "There could be a little bit more down in the valley bottom.
"But nothing like last time, not even close."
Lindquist adds that the flow pattern between now and Saturday will continue to bring some plumes of smoke up, but mostly at high elevations. If it does make its way down into the valley, it isn't expected to be near as thick as it was last time.
"Because we got a lot of rain actually in Washington and Oregon there wasn't much smoke being produced in the two states near us. There was a lot more smoke last time, and now it's coming all the way from California," says Lindquist.
"And I looked at the satellite imagery from California today and it doesn't look as smoky as it has been at times, even in California."
A ridge of high pressure is currently bringing smoke into the region, but Lundquist expects that this pattern should change by Sunday.
In addition to smoke, the region is also seeing some unusually warm daily highs. However, the heat will not affect the smoke.
"We're getting a high of perhaps 27 today in Abbotsford right now. And basically all the way through to and including Tuesday the sixth, we're forecasting highs of low to mid-20s (not today which is high 20s) but the high this time of year in Abbotsford is usually 16," he says.
Earlier this month, Metro Vancouver continued a fine particulate matter advisory for 10 days for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Regional District due to wildfire smoke from outside the region.
If you're feeling unwell these days, your first thought might be to get tested for the novel coronavirus. However, wildfires burning south of the border have created poor air quality in the Lower Mainland, which can cause a range of health effects. Find out how to tell the difference between symptoms, here.