WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

On May 16 there was smoke in the air and I heard that it was from the fires in Georgia and Florida. How is that possible?

Posted May 28, 2007 12:47 p.m. EDT

MIKE MOSS SAYS:      Emily,     Smoke from those fires reaching North Carolina was made possible by high pressure east of the area that resulted in (a) southerly winds in the lower atmosphere that transported the plumes northward toward our state, and (b) a temperature inversion a few thousand feet above the ground that acted as a "lid" to limit vertical mixing and diffusion of the smoke. This resulted in a trajectory that carried the smoke northward to the fires, and the relative lack of diffusion that allowed it to remain concentrated enough to be detectable by the time it moved this far north. The satellite image at the top of this post is from another day somewhat later that also showed a northward transport of the smoke from those fires, although on that day the plume appears to largely dissipate over central South Carolina before making it here.