Residents of San Francisco and several other cities across the US’ West Coast awoke to eerie orange skies after clouds of smoke from multiple nearby wildfires blocked all sunlight and triggered a downpour of ash and soot.
San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley were blanketed in orange to rust-tinted skies as strong winds continued to carry smoke and ash from the wildfires to the northern parts of California, CNN reported. While the sky was tinted a light yellow on Tuesday, it darkened to a deep orange by the next morning, bystanders said.
VIDEO: Ominous orange sky gives San Francisco apocalyptic tint.
San Francisco had deep orange-tinted sky on Wednesday caused by smoke from the wildfires burning across California following historically high temperatures and strong winds pic.twitter.com/CkfxgA9IA9
— AFP news agency (@AFP) September 10, 2020
Shocking footage shows “apocalyptic” red and orange skies in California and Oregon — as thousands of unprecedented and relentless wildfires rage across the west coast of the U.S. https://t.co/8UhRY5p9ml pic.twitter.com/CP1Smv6fCP
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 9, 2020
“When the smoke and ash get even thicker close to the wildfires, it can cut the sunlight out completely, making it look like the dead of night,” CNN meteorologist Judson Jones explained.
The recent wildfires caused a 25-day stretch of unhealthy air quality in the San Francisco Bay Area, setting a new record in the region. The record was previously set in 2018, when plumes of smoke from the devastating Camp Fire caused a sharp decline in air quality for 14 straight days.
An ominous orange glow has filled the sky over the Bay Area in Northern California as relentless wildfires rip through Western states. Here’s the latest: https://t.co/olPrAUKS0B pic.twitter.com/ao52Rz1zGm
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 9, 2020
Surprisingly, despite the darkened sky and showers of ash, the air quality index in San Francisco did not reach unhealthy levels on Wednesday, AP reported. Fog from the Pacific Ocean — wedged between the smoke and the ground — acted as a filter, as per reports.
Social media was flooded with images and videos shared from the streets of cities across California, which were shrouded in darkness all day. Aamir Vaid, a San Francisco resident, had to cancel plans to have lunch in the city because of the overcast sky.
“It feels like I should be in bed sleeping,” Vaid told the Associated Press. He added that it felt “strange and ominous outside”. “Good morning, hell,” another social media user tweeted, sharing a picture of the bright orange sky from his living room window.
Driving across the Golden Gate Bridge at 9:20 IN THE MORNING. pic.twitter.com/nyiY0vWxf5
— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) September 9, 2020
good morning, hell pic.twitter.com/5PpkARmukL
— brian wickman (@wickman) September 9, 2020
Absolutely no filter involved here. This is the morning sky over San Francisco at 8am. Orange, dark and ashy bc of wildfires. I was two days away from my 8th birthday when Mt. St. Helens shook the planet. I’m from Seattle-Tacoma and i remember the sky looked just like this. pic.twitter.com/zgOkT2Ou5f
— Will Tran (@KRON4WTran) September 9, 2020
“I was wondering what time it was. I looked outside and it looked like doomsday,” Carl Juan Anderson, an Oakland resident, told the New York Times. “It feels like the end of the world!” Berkeley resident Beth Ghelghorn said.
A series of wildfires broke out across California in August, amidst an intense heat wave. Nearly 14,000 firefighters have been deployed to douse the flames, which are believed to have razed at least 2.5 million acres of land till date. Of the multiple wildfires, the SCU Lightning Complex has become one of the most dangerous to break out in the state’s history.