Central Ohio Fog or Smoke?

Columbus (WCMH) – I have had many questions coming in wondering if the “haze” we have had the last two days was fog, haze, or smoke from the wildfires in the south.


It is possible that we can get smoke that travels several thousands miles from wildfires.   However, that was not the case this time.


First lets look at the wildfire map for the eastern half of the country starting yesterday:


Notice that the smoke to our south/southeast is being pushed southeast by winds and a low nearby.   We had light winds/calm conditions Wednesday morning.



By late Wednesday/early Thursday, notice weak southerly flow to our southeast kept the winds in that area.  The winds over our area late in the day Wednesday were out of the north, and then became calm.



The light winds to start the day on Thursday kept most of the smoke in the areas of the wildfires to our south.



During the day today, our winds picked up, but the winds in parts of West Virginia and Virginia were light to calm, meaning no smoke transport up here.


So what exactly was going on here in Central Ohio?

For the most part, on Wednesday we did have some clouds that drifted back into our area, but the dewpoint numbers jumped almost 20 degrees.   If you were outside, you may have noticed that it had a more “muggy” feel to the air through the day.   Of course, with the higher dewpoint numbers, clear skies, and little to no wind, the light hazy during the day turned to thick ground fog as the temperatures fell quickly Wednesday evening.

Thursday morning we burned the fog off quickly as temps shot up and dewpoints climbed into the mid 40s.


We will have a high risk of Wildfire on Friday as the winds pick up, and the relative humidity drops:

Typically the National Weather Service issues Red Flag Warnings when the relative humidity drops below 20%, and the winds pick up causing elevated fire concerns.   As of right now, there are many counties in Kentucky to the south that are under Red Flag Warnings Friday.   It is possible that any fires that are active in Kentucky could allow smoke to be transported into the south and southeast parts of Ohio.


If you are interested in current wildfires in the US, this is a cool site to try: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/PublicInformation/index.html?appid=4ae7c683b9574856a3d3b7f75162b3f4


If you have any questions about wildfires, fog, smoke, haze, or any other weather questions, email me: dmazza@wcmh.com



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