November 10, 2012

Weekend edition: big dust storm across West Texas and New Mexico

This afternoon a large dust storm blew up out of Mexico and caused El Paso Texas to have unhealthy breathing conditions. The AQI map below left highlights the area affected and the MODIS AQUA overpass at 13 CST shows that the dust is widespread across the region. NOAA METAR Winds are superimposed on the image and the El Paso AIRNOW site is shown as a red dot. Sustained hourly winds are at 20-30 knots.

A webcam from Weatherbug (Earth Networks) at Fabens Elementary School in Fabens, Texas, shows the difference between 7:45 AM, 11:45AM, and finally 15:45 PM. The middle image clearly shows the dust front blowing in.

In the northern states, snow is the pollutant of the day and the image on the left shows an white blanket across Colorado, Wyoming, the Dakotas, and Nebraska. On Thursday, I flew back from Colorado and missed the snow, but I did get a few good images from the plane of why there was haze in Patricia's posting yesterday. This is a power plant on the Ohio River.

Update: 11/11/12 at 12:00 EST

Lest we forget.

On the air quality front, moderate and unhealthy for sensitive groups readings are occurring in Pennsylvania and neighboring states. It is very warm in Maryland (approaching 70F) so it is likely that this is largely sulfate haze. We'll track more as the day goes on...

Poppy Photo Credit: American Legion

The MODIS Image is now in and while there is elevated PM early in the morning in Pennsylvania, the AOD is not high today. It looks like the haze may be overnight smoke since it clears out by the afternoon. We are getting into the period where it is cool at night, and I definitely smelled woodsmoke as people fire up their fireplaces in the evening.

Posted by Ray Hoff at November 10, 2012 5:55 PM
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