This Day in Weather History: September 24

Smoky skies from Canadian Wildfires moved into West Michigan
Midwest air quality worsens as Canada wildfire smoke persists
Posted at 6:39 AM, Sep 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-24 13:47:29-04

WEST MICHIGAN — Remember this summer when wildfire smoke from Canada brought hazy skies to West Michigan?

That wasn't the first time smoke has made its way to our region. And... it's been even worse at times according to history books and newspapers.

September 24, 1950 is known as 'The Day the Sun Disappeared." The Buffalo Courier-Express recalls the scene, "Dark and cold.  It was not until noon that I first noticed the strange yellow light outside.  It kept getting darker and darker.  The strange hot tawny color at the zenith, had the quality of a yellow august afterglow, yet different.  By 2:00 P.M. it was almost like night.  In the west deep blue black clouds, then the sky went from mars violet up to tawny orange – lower clouds white and cold.  In the S.E. brilliant yellow light at the horizon."

The wildfire smoke originated from a system of fires in northern Alberta and northeastern British Columbia, which burned approximately 4 million acres. It was known as the single largest recorded fire in North America.

It produces smoke that drifted into the upper atmosphere and blanketed portions of Canada and the U.S. It blanketed West Michigan on September 24. The effects moved across the Atlantic Ocean and impacted parts of Europe as well.