In the first week of September 2019, journalist Eric Mack and his wife attended an outdoor music festival in a forest outside Santa Fe, New Mexico,media CNET reported. At the time, it seemed like a crazy experience, because one night it rained and something got a little muddy, and a Prius might even get stuck for a while. By 2019 standards, Mack says, it may be crazy. But that doesn’t seem to be worth mentioning compared to the experience of 2020.
For the past few days, Mack has lived in a valley in northern New Mexico, and smoke has blanketed his home, obscuring the view of nearby mountains and casting brown colors on the horizon. Fires burning in the western United States have produced smoke that satellites can’t distinguish from ordinary clouds.
Of course, with high winds blowing sand and dirt in arid desert environments, it’s hard to tell the end of the haze from the starting point of a sandstorm. The two seem to be “working together” on apocalyptive scenes. Even more bizarrely, the ongoing wildfires in the west are expected to be extinguished by a strange late-summer blizzard, with up to 46cm of snow expected to fall in the Rocky Mountains on Wednesday night and Thursday local time, after extreme temperatures dropped by nearly 70F in the previous 48 hours.
According to climatologist Brian Brettschneider, this marks the 15th time since 1900 that a U.S. weather station has seen temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) the day before and snow the next day.