March 19, 2012

Unhealthy and Very Unhealthy PM2.5 AQI near El Paso, TX; Moderate for Southeast, Northeast, and Great Lakes

Blowing dust conditions over portions of Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas have dissipated as a powerful (late) winter storm slowly progresses eastward. A strong upper-level trough dug towards the desert Southwest yesterday bringing places like El Paso, TX wind gusts greater than 60mph and nearly zero visibility. Moderately gusty winds remained in the area today, but wind conditions are forecast to improve tomorrow as unseasonably cool about 15°-20° F below normal temperatures sweep in behind the system. The HMS reported areas of possible blowing dust in those regions today, however blowing dust was noted difficult to detect due to extensive cloud cover as seen in today's MODIS Aqua True Color imagery (bottom left). AIRNow's AQI animation indicates Code Red (Unhealthy) with a brief period of Code Purple (Very Unhealthy) around the New Mexico/Mexico/Texas borders early this morning but air quality began to improve for these regions around 8AM (bottom right).

Elsewhere, the Southeast, Northeast, and portions of Great Lake states experienced Code Yellow (Moderate) AQI PM2.5 levels again today (bottom left, courtesy AIRNow). MODIS Terra True Color imagery superimposed with MODIS Terra AOD indicates slightly elevated AOD over the Southeast, yet there appears to be cloud contamination over the majority of the Mississippi Valley (bottom right).

Posted by Alexandra St Pe at March 19, 2012 6:02 PM
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