Unusual events elsewhere impact W.Va. weather this week

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A couple of weather phenomena this week elsewhere in the United States are impacting our conditions in West Virginia.

You may have noticed hazy skies in the Mountain State in the past couple of days. The haze is not from any weather we are presently experiencing, it is literally smoke which has drifted eastward from fires burning in the western United States.

“It’s carried over from all the way out west. It’s a, ‘mist from the smoke of a distant fire,’ as the old song goes,” said Tom Mazza Meteorologist with the National Weather Service Charleston bureau.

The smoke from those fires has risen to the 20 to 25,000 foot level and is being carried our way along the jet stream. Mazza said the distance isn’t uncommon since weather travels that far in a day or two under normal circumstances. However, an event to cause such a level of smoke is unusual, although not unprecedented.

“This is not something that has never happened before. With volcanic eruptions, the biggest eruptions spread volcanic ash even higher into the atmosphere and that ash will get all the way around the planet,” he explained.

The fires in California, Washington, and Oregon this week have created the worst air quality in the world for the region along the west coast and in cities impacted by the fires this week. Here in West Virginia it has created some hazy conditions, but nothing more..

West Virginia could also see some incoming precipitation from Hurricane Sally making landfall Wednesday in the area near the Alabama/Florida border on the Gulf Coast. But, Mazza said another weather system will impact the level of rain Sally is able to deliver to the Mountain State.

“We’re going to have a very cool air mass, even cooler than the one that is here now, spread into the area Thursday night and Friday and that will help shunt Sally to the south and east,” Mazza said.

There will be some limited precipitation to the most extreme southeast areas of West Virginia. The weather system will bring in Arctic air from Canada which will be much more autumn like through the weekend and into next week with cooler temperatures and dry conditions.

“The deeper mountain valleys of the northern mountains and even down into the central mountains are likely to have frost this weekend,” he said.

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