March 31, 2014

Elevated PM2.5 in Plains States; Critical Fire Weather out West

Today Code Yellow (Moderate) AQI were observed across portions of the Plains, Great Lakes, and Mississippi Valley states (top left). Although a few fires were reported throughout these regions, the largest cluster of fires were observed in the southern Plains and Southeast, with light to moderate smoke in northwest Oklahoma, east Texas, central Louisiana, and all along the Gulf Coast states, through South Carolina (top right). Not surprisingly, a few scattered areas of Code Yellow co-located with a few billows of smoke. In addition, the National Weather Service issued a Critical Fire Weather forecast for the western region, as a strong cold front kicked up powerful westerly down-sloping winds. Likely associated with the weather conditions, the HMS analysis reported blowing dust/sand across southwest Nebraska, eastern Colorado, and Oklahoma and Texas panhandle. The low pressure system is forecast to deepen (strengthen) overnight, enhancing winds and low moisture conditions (due to presence of dry line) as far east as Missouri and Iowa (bottom). As the front pushes through tomorrow, conditions are expected to improve, however there is still some concern for favorable conditions for fires to start in eastern New Mexico as well as the Texas panhandle.

Posted by Alexandra St Pe at March 31, 2014 11:08 PM
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