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Wildfires On Both Sides Lead To Hazy But Stunning Sunsets In Central Illinois

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Courtesy Rhonda Shelley
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This weekend promises to be hot and hazy. That means you'll see some stunning sunrises and sunsets - but also reduced air quality.

It'll be hot and hazy throughout much of the weekend.

James Auten is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lincoln. He says Central Illinois is getting hit with wildfire smoke from both the west and the east for the last several days.

"Starting on Sunday, I believe, it should start to get a little better," he said. "But yeah, the sunrises and sunsets are gorgeous, right, with all the smokiness."

Auten says the smoke is usually high enough in the atmosphere not to cause any significant air quality issues, but he says it sometimes descends low enough that people can smell it.

"Those with possible lung issues who are sensitive to that kind of air quality need to be cautious when heading outside," he said.

The heat this weekend is described by the NWS as "oppressive," with heat indexes getting up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit in the Peoria area. Auten said while that's typical for Central Illinois in late July, it's important to take it seriously.

"Take frequent breaks if you have to be outside, and stay hydrated," Auten said. "Don't drink carbonated beverages. Drink water or sports drinks."

This weekend is also prime time to get a look at blossoming sunflowers around Central Illinois, including at Jubilee College State Park in rural Brimfield.