Air Quality In High Country Expected To Improve Wednesday, Removed From Air Quality Alerts

Last Updated on November 15, 2016 5:03 pm

The North Carolina Air Quality Forecast Center has removed the High Country from the air quality status alerts for Wednesday November 16, 2016.

In an update on Tuesday afternoon NCAQFC says:

We continue to see a significant amount of smoke over western NC this afternoon. Fires near Lake Lure and the South Mountain State Park in particular continue to produce copious amounts of smoke. Downwind of these fires we suspect there are some localized Code Red fine particulate matter concentrations in Burke, Cleveland, Lincoln and Gaston Counties this afternoon, while monitors in surrounding counties continue to report upper Code Yellow to low Code Orange concentrations.

Areas of smoke will remain entrenched over the mountains and foothills tonight as winds become calm. Tomorrow, a ridge of high pressure building in from the west will continue to produce predominantly northwesterly flow across the region. This will result in smoke primarily blowing southeasterly across the state tomorrow. Based on the latest trends in the ongoing fires across the region, we have made a few adjustments to the forecast for tomorrow over previous day. Code Orange particle pollution concentrations are now predicted for the Asheville region and the remainder of southwestern NC (lowered from Code Red today), with the Hickory (same) and Charlotte (higher) regions in a Code Red forecast due to smoke expected to continue to be produced and blow south-southeasterly.

The Code Red for the Charlotte region is primarily for Lincoln and Gaston Counties — closest to the fires just to the west — but it would not be impossible for the greater Charlotte area to see at least a period of upper Code Orange to Code Red particle pollution at some point tomorrow.

Further east, expect scattered smoke to continue to be transported into the Triangle and Fayetteville regions primarily from Tennessee and Kentucky fires, while the Rocky Mount region should continue to observe the best air quality of all the forecast regions and remain in the upper Code Green range.


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