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Gloomy, orange-colored skies affecting the mental wellness for some people

Orange Sky
An orange-colored smoke-filled sky blankets the Five Cities Thursday afternoon. (Dave Alley/KEYT)

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. -- A gloomy, orange-colored sky has blanketed the Central Coast this week.

The weather phenomenon has been created from smoke drifting into the area by fires burning elsewhere.

Unrelenting the past two days, the constant cloud cover has cast a dreary, ominous shadow onto everyone below.

"It's just a dark, depressing feeling," said Adia Fenn of Arroyo Grande,

According to mental health expert, the conditions can adversely affect both mental and physical wellness.

"It leaves people feeling uneasy I think, out of sorts," said Suzanne Grimmesey, PIO/Chief Quality Care and Strategy Officer Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness Chief Quality Care and Strategy Officer. "It can contribute to people feeling anxious. People are feeling sluggish. They're feeling less energy."

Grimmesey that's especially true since the dull, cloudy overcast can throw off an internal clock.

"It can disrupt our sleep. We're not waking up with the regular sunshine. It makes people feel sluggish and tired. It feels like our routines and our schedules are off, even though they aren't really, but it looks like a different time of the day."

Gail Lund, who was visiting Arroyo Grande on Thursday from Fresno, agreed with Grimmesey.

She complained how the strange lighting is affecting her normal patterns.

"It makes me feel like there's no time," said Lund. "Usually you have the sun to tell you what time it is during the day and when I don't have that, I'm lost."

Like many others, Fenn noted that what is happening right now is just the latest in what has been a seemingly endless run of difficult circumstances this year.

"It's another additive onto all of the chaos we've been having," said Fenn. "It's definitely a constant reminder of what 2020 has been."

Grimmesey offered suggestions to anyone who is being negatively impacted by this week's dreary weather, as well as the constant strain of this year's events.

"Stay connected," said Grimmesey. "Try and normalize and remind ourselves and our children and others that is going to pass. It will not stay like this forever. The fires are not here. Talk about it."

California / Community / Environment / Outdoors / Safe at Home / Safety / San Luis Obispo County / Santa Barbara- S County / Santa Maria - North County

Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at KCOY|KEYT|KKFX.