Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June 14

Air Quality Alert for Tuesday. Please read the Air Quality Alert that includes SW New Mexico.

Due to smoke from the Horseshoe 2 Fire it is expected that the air quality in southwest New Mexico will continue to be in the unhealthy for sensitive groups range (orange AQI) on Monday. The map below shows a predicted area of air quality categorized as "unhealthy for sensitive groups" along the border from the El Paso to the Arizona state line.
This morning the winds from the Deming profiler are showing northwesterly winds near the surface and westerly aloft.
A view of Organ Mountains this morning at 7:50 am shows some low level haze and an inversion "lid" at about 1.9 km MSL.
There was an error in the last few plots of DustTrak PM2.5 and I've made the corrections to the plots from previous days. A plot of the last 24-hours of PM2.5 is shown below. PM2.5 at NMSU showed a sharp increase at 9 pm last night and continued high till the after the sun was up.
Forecasts from the Horeshoe2 Fire show trajectories going directly east and east southeast across our study region. Trajectory colors are 500 (green), 1500 (blue), and 4000 (red) meters above the ground. The trajectories start at 15 UTC (9 am MDT) and are shown every 3 hours till tomorrow morning at 6 am. Fire locations are from the NOAA HMS product at 11 am today.
Data from the Lordsburg satellite site was downloaded on this visit and I checked on the general operation. Everything looked good. The Horseshoe2 smoke is in the background.
I also delivered a DustTrakII to monitor smoke southwest of Lordsburg in what I think will be a hotspot for smoke. I will likely leave the monitor there for the next week or so to collect smoke concentrations near the fire. Glenda Mahan at the extension office in Lordsburg agreed to email the data each morning over the next week. During my visit the Horseshoe2 Fire plume was not impacting Lordsburg or Deming in the afternoon. However, it looked like places like Animas, Columbus, and areas along the border were in the plume. The map below shows a view from MODIS aboard Aqua at 1:50 pm MDT. In Lordsburg I could see the Wallow smoke plume to the north. I noticed a little pyrocumulus building up in the late afternoon.
Not too long after the Aqua satellite's overhead passage, I snapped a view of the Horseshoe2 plume east of Deming on I-10 at 2:30 pm.  The Florida Mountains are in the background. It looked as if most of the plume was south of the mountains from my viewpoint. It was breezy in this area and there were some dust plumes scattered around.
The updated alert graphic for tomorrow shows a worsening of air quality due to the Horseshoe2 smoke. The areas of highest impact includes locales south of I-10 from just east of the fire to the Dona Ana County line.

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