Smoke from western wildfires clouds Iowa skies

It originated in Montana and western Canada

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Hazy gray skies hung over Eastern Iowa on Monday afternoon and evening, but it wasn’t a storm front moving through. Rather, it was smoke blown in from western wildfires more than 1,000 miles away.

“The smoke will rise and interact with upper level winds, and the winds are strong enough to carry the smoke a long distance, and that is what we are seeing,” Peter Speck, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Davenport, said Monday evening.

Wildfires have been raging in Montana, Idaho and Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, prompting evacuations. The smoke originated from wildfires in Montana and western Canada, Speck said.

A northwest wind pattern carried the smoke across Wyoming, South Dakota and Iowa, he said. The weather pattern brought a morning cold front followed by the smoke that settled over Eastern Iowa beginning in the midafternoon.

The smoke stayed high aloft in the sky, so there wasn’t a smoky smell, he said. However, it created a condition causing vibrant colors at sunset and prompting questions from the public, he said.

The smoke should dissipate by morning, he said.

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