This question may come off as strange, but humor me: Did you smell smoke this morning?
If you did, your nose was not playing tricks on you.
Wildfires have been impacting California for weeks, but over the last few days, smoke from those fires has traveled across the U.S. through the jet stream. You could actually see the smoke on satellite imagery on Monday. Check out what the National Weather Service in Wilmington posted about it:
So why did it smell smoky if this was higher up in the air?
It's all about what happens at night in our atmosphere. As air cools, it becomes more dense (therefore heavier) and sinks closer to the ground. This, in theory, could have transported some of that smoke closer to us.
Thus, the smell.
I noticed it while driving in on I-71/75 around 2 a.m. Tuesday and a weather watcher in Crittenden noticed the same at 4 a.m.
There is no danger at this hour or linger odor because the sun is up and temperatures have warmed.
The National Weather Service was consulted today to discuss the smell experienced this morning and the possible connection to this wildfire smoke.
The meteorologist on duty overnight said it was "difficult to say" that it was 100 percent connected to the wildfires. But a weather model that predicts smoke in the air was forward by the NWS as a possible explanation and it confirmed that smoke was in the region.