Wildfire smoke could affect Saints game against Carolina

CHARLOTTE, NC (WGNO) - Wildfires have been raging across the Southern Appalachian Mountain region and its foothills and the smoke from these fires could affect the Saints-Carolina game tonight in Charlotte.

Smoky skies have become the norm across the Southeastern U.S. in cities from Atlanta to Chattanooga, Charlotte and even as far away as Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA.

Air Quality Index Scale

The air quality scale is color coded with green being 'Good' and purple being 'Very Unhealthy'. It is very rare for air quality to reach a Code Purple, where the Air Quality Index, or AQI, is greater than 200. Some cities though have done just that. Earlier this week, the AQI in Chattanooga, Tn was in the purple zone for the first time in over 40 years!

The concentrations of wildfire smoke shift with the wind and the winds this evening are blowing in from the northwest. That means some of the smoke is making its way into Charlotte but the vast majority of it is making it south through South Carolina and off into the Atlantic Ocean.

Charlotte AQI 11-16-2016

The AQI in Charlotte today was forecast at a 101 as of noon Thursday afternoon. This puts the air quality in Charlotte in a Code Orange meaning the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups (USG) including asthmatics, young children and the elderly. Winds are continued to stay this way through game time and light smoke will continue to be a factor in the Charlotte area throughout the evening, including during tonight's Saints game.