KSHB 41 Weather Blog | Kansas City's air is unhealthy today, but it's not just the smoke

National Smoke Map
Posted at 1:25 PM, Sep 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-07 14:30:37-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Good Thursday, weather blog readers...did you smell it this morning? I'm talking about the smoke in the air.

Smoky Arrowhead

If you didn't maybe it's because you have a stuffy nose from the pollen floating around in the air.

Smoky skies showed up over Kansas City Wednesday following a cold front that brought in cooler air from the northwest. As cooler air subsides behind the front, smoke (dark gray) from wildfires in Canada have moved over the central US

National Smoke Map

Wednesday, we are able to stave off the worst of the polluted, smoky air but once the sun set our atmosphere began to lock in that smoke.

During the day, smoke is transported horizontally and vertically allowing for smoke to move around the country.

Overnight, as the earth's surface begins to cool off, a cap forms which then traps the smoke at the surface.

Weather Inversion

That's what happened overnight(below) as the air went from orange/hazardous to sensitive groups to red/generally unhealthy.

Hourly AQI
Thursday morning air quality

As that cap erodes with time from the earth's surface heating up that smoke trapped at the surface will move further into the sky and improve our air quality.

So the smoke levels look to improve to a healthier later today but I'm not as confident the pollen levels will.

Pollen Report September 7

The latest pollen report from this morning has mold and weed levels high as this is peak ragweed season.

Although Dr. Portnoy, with Children's Mercy allergy, asthma and immunology, says the hot weather this year may have cause the ragweed levels to be not as high this year.