Climate and Weather

Museum Fire Smoke Impacts

Jul 22, 2019
David Kraz

The Museum Fire burning near Flagstaff is pumping large amounts of smoke into the atmosphere. Efficient summertime ventilation has kept health impacts to a minimum thus far as the plumes are dispersing as they travel north and east of the fire. So far, there have been no health advisories issued by Arizona Department of Air Quality (ADEQ) or the National Weather Service. This can change with the varying conditions and those with sensitivities to smoke are encouraged to stay alert and informed. Monday night, light northerly winds are forecast to bring smoke into Flagstaff communities.

It has been one of the slowest and driest starts to the Arizona rain season, know as the Monsoon. In a more typical year the region would have already have experienced significant moisture. This year has been different, with not one location receiving over a half inch of rain as of Monday, July 22nd. This has lead to tinder dry conditions and a late fire season.  

The season within a season, the "Southwest monsoon" is beginning to establish itself across the region. The word "monsoon" is defined as any seasnonal shift in the wind. Over the coming days high pressure centered over the four corners region will gradually transport moisture into Arizona from south. 

+

The moisture source is the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of California. You probably have noticed the increase in our mugginess the past couple days as humidity levels are on the rise.

Monsoon season officially began June 15th. The word "monsoon" is derived from the Arabic word "mausim" which means season . During the summer months, winds shift from our predominant westerly direction to  a southerly  direction. This allows moisture from the Gulf of California and the Gulf of Mexico to stream into the region. This year El Niño (warmer than average tropical Pacific Ocean water) is still present and predicted to continue through summer.

Authorities are advising travelers and commuters using roads and highways of higher elevations of northern Arizona to be prepared for potentially hazardous driving conditions through Thursday morning due to a late-season snowstorm.

Pages