Monday, May 9, 2011

May 9

Dust alert for today. Forecast is for a little earth, wind and fire. The NWS forecast are telling us to expect west southwest winds in the afternoon between 31 and 34 mph with gusts as high as 48 mph. Winds at 6 pm are shown below from the 12Z RUC forecast.

The AQI forecast reflects the high winds with an area of moderate and unhealthy for sensitive groups in west Texas. The orange AQI is due to PM10 while the AQI for ozone is in the good or green range.
Smoke from the 32,960 acre Miller Fire will probably drift toward the northeast today based on the RUC winds and Hysplit run below.
As of 1 pm the wind is starting to pick up dust here in Las Cruces. Hourly PM2.5 and PM10 have begun to pick up as well. The Anthony hourly PM2.5 was 49 µg/m3 at 11 am. At 11 am the Deming station had an hourly PM10 at 358 µg/m3 with 11 m/s winds and 18 m/s gusts. 

At 4 pm, most stations are seeing or have seen PM10 concentrations in the range of 500 to 1000 µg/m3 the past hour. So far the peak wind gusts at the Las Cruces Airport was 44 and 41 mph at the NMED West Mesa station. Looking at the sky toward the west from my office, I can no longer see blue sky but just light brown. See the webcam image below from my office.
The Horseshoe Two Fire in the Chiricahua Mountains was at 2,000 acres this morning and lofting a smoke plume across our region. This fire is just south of Portal, AZ and west of Rodeo, NM. 

At 6:46 pm the smoke plumes are clearer to see in this GOES visible image. You can see the Miller Fire plume north of that one. 
The fire perimeter is about a mile away from the Gila Cliff Dwelling National Monument based on the InciWeb fire map. Using the kml file supplied on their website here is an approximate view of the burned area looking south over the cliff dwellings.
The  Horseshoe Two and Miller Fires are also showing up in the satellite based OMI tropospheric NO2 product from KNMI. I added the NOAA HMS fire locations from the kml file on the KNMI website.

At 8 pm the smoke plume from the Horseshoe Two Fire can be seen at the horizon from Las Cruces.

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