NASA image reveals smoke

In this image from a NASA satellite, its clear to see how smoke from Minnesota wildfires affected areas just east of Rockford. Regular clouds are seen in bright white while the smoke appears as a light, whispy gray shading. Folks across the area reported seeing and smelling the fine particles as they mixed all the way down to the surface.

As of this morning, visibilities are still a bit reduced from Milwaukee to Chicago but conditions may improve later.



Posted under wildfires

This post was written by qni_it on September 14, 2011

Smoke in the forecast northeast of Rockford

Areas of smoke from wildfires in northeastern Minnesota have made their way all the way to southeast Wisconsin. Meteorologists at the NWS office in Sullivan (Milwaukee) are able to smell the smoke and it can be traced in the sky in Chicago’s northern suburbs. Air quality will likely be affected through Friday as our northwest flow continues with the recent cold snap in the Stateline area.


Posted under wildfires

This post was written by qni_it on September 13, 2011

Arizona wildfires causing our smoky skies

In this high definition photo from the National Weather Service’s MODIS satellite from 440 miles above the earth it’s easy to see where Arizona is on fire. You can also see a plume that is floating over the Texas panhandle. (The milky-white appearance on the map). The “Wallow Fire” is the second largest reported in Arizona’s history and is 0% contained. According to NBC affiliate KPNX-TV, 311,000 acres have been charred. More than 2,100 firefighters are using 141 engines, 46 water tankers, 8 bulldozers, and 20 helicopters to fight the fire.

According to the New Mexico Business Weekly, flights from Salt Lake City, Houston, Oakland, and Seattle were diverted away from Albuquerque International Airport because of dense smoke. The city of Albuquerque even canceled an outdoor concert due to an unhealthy level of smoke.

KVIA-TV is reporting that electric officials are warning that the fire is dangerously close to high-tension power lines. Should the lines be broken due to the fire, rolling blackouts will occur in the El Paso, Texas metropolitan area in the coming days. The lines in question carry 40% of the power into that city.

This is a big deal and it’s effects are being seen here in the Midwest too! This is another image from MODIS and we’ve highlighted the most recent plume of smoke to pour into our airspace. In fact, this plume may have been enough to limit our temperatures by a degree or two today (much like a light pair of sunglasses on the atmosphere). Even though there are health concerns in New Mexico, the smoke plume is dispersed somewhat once it gets into the Midwest. Still, this plume coupled with industrial pollutants makes for some unhealthy air, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Click here to see what the air quality is for our area.


Posted under health, news, pollution, wildfires

This post was written by qni_it on June 7, 2011

Canadian fires provide a milky sky here

wildfireDid you notice how hazy it was in our area today? That wasn’t humidity in the air…that was smoke! There are several large wildfires in Saskatchewan blazing out of control right now. These fires are producing a plume of smoke that rises to jetstream level. With a cold front coming through here on Wednesday, our airflow is coming out of the northwest which is bringing the smoke here.

Our air quality remains in the healthy category but areas northwest of Rockford are in the moderate category from Prairie du Chien, WI to Minneapolis. -ES


Posted under weather, wildfires

This post was written by qni_it on June 24, 2010

Michigan Wildfires



Residents of Northern Michigan are worried about wildfires that erupted within the past 24 hours. Our NBC affiliate reports 5,000 acres ablaze tonight around the towns of Roscommon and Grayling, Michigan. Other local media puts the blaze around 6,000 acres. Dozens of homes have been burned and more are in jeopardy. For the latest on this story, click on the following links:

Traverse City Record-Eagle


Posted under wildfires

This post was written by qni_it on May 18, 2010

Fire spawns dust devils

Honestly, I’ve never seen anything like this!


Posted under wildfires, Wind

This post was written by qni_it on October 27, 2009