The U.S. East Coast’s busiest containerport and gateway to one of the world’s most concentrated consumer markets closed on Wednesday.
Container terminals at the Port of New York and New Jersey closed “due to wildfires and the poor visibility throughout.”
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey took the unusual step of closing container terminals at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. “Due to wildfires there is poor visibility,” the Port authority said, adding that there will be normal operations today.
“Today, 6/7 APMT, MAHER, PNCT, GCT Bayonne & Columbia operations will stop & gates will be closed at 3PM due to poor air quality. Normal operations tomorrow 6/8,” the U.S. East Coast’s large port said in a Tweet.
A plume of Canadian wildfire smoke rapidly darkened the skies over New York City and around the Northeast on Wednesday, making the air dangerous to breathe and disrupting life across the region.
Smoke from the Canadian wildfires reached as far south as Alabama on Wednesday and caused reduced air quality across the eastern third of the U.S., said the Short-term Prediction Research and Transition Center (SPoRT) which is a NASA project.
Governor of New York State Kathy Hochul called the worsening air quality “an emergency crisis.”
She said one million N95 masks will be made available at state facilities and 400,000 will be distributed to New Yorkers.
“We are living in the era of extreme weather,” she said, “Last summer, New York experienced extremely dry conditions and we had wildfires pop up across the state. While continuing our fight against climate change, we need to recognize that this is a new reality we have to be prepared for.”
The Governor asked citizens to postpone outdour activities and to wear a high-quality mask to reduce exposure.
“The best way to stay safe right now is to stay indoors,” she said.
The National Weather Service New York NY gave an update yesterday about the situation mentioning that the weather pattern is not going to change much through the weekend.
A stalled low-pressure system near Maine and the Canadian Maritime Provinces will sustain northerly winds from the fires in Quebec, directing the smoke into portions of the northeastern U.S., the weather service warns.