June 20, 2011

Powerful weather systems over Central US and Canada modify smoke plume progression

As shown in NOAA's HMS (bottom left), the majority of dense smoke from the Honey Prairie fire in southeast Georgia pushed off the Carolina coast today, and as a result, air quality conditions along the Southeast states improved from moderate to good AQI (bottom right).

With the first day of summer (and longest day of the year) right on our doorstep, volatile atmospheric conditions this afternoon created dangerous weather across central US and Canada. Two powerful Low Pressure systems billowed out across these regions today, swirling in large smoke plumes as they intensified. Strong southeast surface winds from the large cyclone over eastern Alberta, pulled smoke from the Canadian wildfires towards West/Northwest Canada, affecting a majority of the Northwest Territories. As for the US, thin to moderate smoke off the Mexican Plateau was encompassed the southeast side of an intense Low Pressure system developing near southeast Colorado. The GOES GASP imagery shows the clouds associated with this weather system as it continued to track towards the Plain states, pulling in high AODs (bottom left). An associated Dryline (boundary between moist and dry air mass) and trailing Cold Front surged southward into portions of eastern New Mexico, northwestern Texas, and western Oklahoma, helping create conditions that the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) defines as "Critical Fire Weather" (bottom right).

The SPC also uses short-term model graphics and current analysis graphics to highlight weather parameters conducive to fire weather. On the SPC Mesoscale Analysis graphic, steep boundary layer lapse rates (west of the Dryline), low relative humidity values (<40%), and strong mid-level winds were indicated directly over the "Critical Fire Weather" region (bottom left).

Posted by Alexandra St Pe at June 20, 2011 7:40 PM
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