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WKBW 7 News Buffalo

Waiting for air quality to improve

By Eileen Buckley,

2023-06-08
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It’s been a tough week for breathing fresh air in the Western New York region. Thursday brought another day of poor air quality.  Several outdoor events are planned for this weekend, but the Allentown Art Festival will be held.

“We've been following the forecast and we're expecting all of this to blow out and the weekend looks to be beautiful,” remarked Rita Harrington Lippman, president, Allentown Art Festival.

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Rita Harrington Lippman, president, Allentown Art Festival.

The smokey smell and haze from the Canadian wildfires are not putting the brakes on the 66th annual Allentown Art Festival in Buffalo.

Harrington Lippman tells me there were a lot of concerns from the more than 300 vendors who will be here for this weekend's event.

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Allentown Art Festival will take place this weekend in Buffalo.

“We were very concerned and because a lot of our vendors come from out of state and there are a lot of places that are sadly worse than we've been and they were concerned that we may be in the same situation, so I was able to reassure them that we're not and even some of our local people were very concerned — some people who may have some breathing difficulties and told them also that looks like buffalo is in the clear for the weekend,” explained Harrington Lippman.

An Air Quality Health Advisory will continue Friday as unhealthy conditions persist across the region.

I checked in with Mike Fries who is the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

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Mike Fries. Warning Coordination Meteorologist, National Weather Service in Buffalo.

“You're going to smell it the rest of the day today. There is a decent chance that we'll see our air quality, again, as the state Department of Environmental Conservation is forecasting, reach unhealthy levels again today, primarily across Western New York once you go farther east from there,” Fries noted.

Fries says the unusual wind pattern the last several days out of Canada is the culprit.

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Hazy conditions in downtown Buffalo.

“That's not a climate logically favored wind pattern in this part of the country at all, but because we've been blowing from the northeast and most of the large wildfires are in Quebec — it's been dragging the smoke into our area,” Fries noted.

But despite some of the bad air quality conditions it didn't stop folks from heading out to Food Truck Thursday in Niagara Square, however, and some told me they did feel ill effects from the air quality.

“I smelled something in the air and people were explaining that they getting sore throats,” commented Donna Robshaw of Cheektowaga.

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Shelly Ann Bellet of Buffalo & Donna Robshaw of Cheektowaga.

Robshaw was in Niagara Square with friend Shelly Ann Bellet of Buffalo.

“We kind of felt the same way and she didn’t say anything until I said I didn’t feel good,” Bellet reflected.

“It kind of felt hard to breathe. I was walking to work in the morning and you could literally taste the smoke outside — it was terrible,” described Angelina Rodriguez of Buffalo.

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Angelina Rodriguez of Buffalo.

Rodriguez tells me the air made her throat burn.

“It almost reminds me of being a little girl and going to like campfires and just standing way too close to them,” Rodriguez said. “Almost like you drank something really hot and gave you a little burning feeling in your throat.”

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