Jun 9, 2023 - News

Smokey haze in D.C. expected to improve after showers

A person rides a bicycle on Pennsylvania Avenue with haze in the background obscuring the U.S. Capitol building

Code Purple air quality obscured the city's landmarks. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Breathe a sigh of relief: Showers today could wash out this smoke.

Why it matters: The “very unhealthy” air stemming from Canadian wildfires has gradually diminished, but not before yesterday seeping into Metro stations, canceling the Nats game, and postponing trash pickup and other city services.

Driving the news: Smoke is likely to roll through D.C. on Friday, but this weekend looks clearer thanks to a cold front bringing a wind shift later, our Axios senior climate reporter Andrew Freedman tells us.

  • Our region on Friday improved to a Code Orange, which means the air is still unhealthy for sensitive groups.
  • The Capital Pride parade and festival are expected to go on, though organizers say they’re watching air quality reports.

The big picture: Poor air-quality records have been shattered in multiple cities and states, including the nation's capital, which on Thursday saw its first-ever "Code Purple" day for fine-particulate pollution.

  • As the threat level dialed up, outdoor watering holes including Dacha and St. Vincent Wine Bar closed or moved operations inside.
  • Metro assured riders who smelled smoke that its trains and buses have “advanced filtration systems that remove approximately 98% of pollutants.”
  • Garbage pickup slid a day, kids at schools remained indoors, and D.C. suspended some road paving and other city work.

The poor tourists.

  • The National Zoo shuttered yesterday to protect animals — and humans.
  • Pandas, bears, big cats, and apes were moved indoors, not to mention any at risk that are old, very old, very young, or with respiratory conditions (animals are just like us).

Go to a great windowless basement bar. Stream this new stuff.

  • Exhale — it's still Friday after all.

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