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Here's When Air Quality Will Improve — But It's Going To Get Worse First, Forecasters Say

By Zak Failla,


The air quality in the Northeast could get worse before it gets better, meteorologists say. ( Click here for the updated smoke forecast ).

A red air quality alert (unhealthy) was issued across Washington, DC and most of Maryland, while parts of Virginia were in the orange (unhealthy for certain groups) and yellow (moderate) zones due to smoke from the Canadian wildfires being pushed into the area.

The question on everyone's mind now: When will air quality improve?

According to, possibly as soon as this weekend. The region is expected to see a change in weather pattern, which is expected to change the wind direction and push remaining smoke out.

The National Weather Service advised that there will be "very poor air quality" in the DMV region between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Wednesday, and "it has been recommended to limit time outdoors."

Wearing a mask may help limit irritation from anyone suffering from respiratory illness, officials further advised.

"The upper air storm in Eastern Canada will begin to slowly pull away to the east Saturday but there still will be enough of a northwest flow to keep us in smokey sunshine."

According to officials:

  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activity;
  • Keep outdoor activities short;
  • Consider moving physical activities indoors or rescheduling them.

"A Code Red Air Quality Alert means that air pollution concentrations within the region are unhealthful for the general population," officials said. "The effects of air pollution can be minimized by avoiding strenuous activity or exercise outdoors."

The Code Red Air Quality Alert applies to:

  • District of Columbia;
  • Northern Virginia;
  • Maryland's suburban DC region;
  • Baltimore City;
  • Annapolis region;
  • Maryland Piedmont region;
  • Northern Baltimore;
  • Northeast Maryland.

No hazardous weather alerts have been issued by the National Weather Service past Wednesday afternoon.

Click here to check the air quality in your town.

This is a developing story. Check back for more.

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