Mexico’s Megalópolis Environmental Commission (CAME) is urging residents to stay indoors as thick smoke stemming from wildfires along the western Gulf of Mexico chokes the southern half of the country. In this NOAA-20 imagery from May 14, 2019, you can see the smoke inundating Mexico’s densely populated capital and surrounding municipalities.
For the past two days, the government agency that monitors air quality warned that Mexico City reached a level 10, which is the highest health risk on its scale. Fine, microscopic particles from wildfire smoke “can cause health problems such as burning eyes, runny nose, and illnesses such as bronchitis,” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Older adults, children and people with heart or lung diseases are at a higher risk.
Despite efforts to contain the more than 70 active blazes across the country, high temperatures and dry conditions continue to plague the efforts of firefighters. Patrick Marsh with the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center tweeted saying that some of the smoke from these fires could eventually reach the Central U.S. later this week. However, other than making the region a little hazy, there shouldn't be any health impacts in the Central US.
This image was captured by the NOAA-20 satellite's VIIRS instrument, which scans the entire globe twice daily at a 750-meter resolution. The VIIRS sensor provides high-resolution visible and infrared imagery of Earth's atmosphere, land, and oceans, and helps atmospheric scientists monitor severe weather events such as hurricanes and tropical storms.