"When you look up, you think it looks like a cloud because, you know, you can’t see anything and there’s no blue skies. But it’s the smoke that’s actually just blocking the sun from reaching the earth," said David King, forecaster with the National Weather Service.
This phenomenon is known as "solar insolation" and it is also preventing the sun’s warmth from reaching ground levels, keeping temperatures below normal for this time of year.
Meteorologists said that the smoke is likely to linger for a few more days, but the unprecedented amount of smoke is testing the capabilities of some weather modeling systems.
"What we can really look forward to is over the next three days, we should see increasing onshore wind ahead of the approaching storm system," explained Drew Peterson, forecaster with the National Weather Service. "So for today we should see some of that smoke move out of the area, but it’s not really going to be until probably Wednesday afternoon that we really start to see improvement."
There is so much smoke being generated by fires up and down the West Coast that it will take a massive amount of fresh air to stir up and disperse it.
While air quality readings show a slight decline in particulate levels compared to Sunday, the air in every region of the Bay Area is still considered to be at unhealthy levels.
A record-breaking streak of Spare The Air days shows no signs of letting up. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District extended alerts through Monday, September 14 for 28 straight days in a row and more alerts are likely to be issued. The previous record was only half that, with 14 consecutive Spare the Air days in 2018 because of smoke from the Camp Fire.