A Smoky Scent in the Air: September 9, 2011

Satellite Photo Showing Plume of Smoke from Pagami Creek Fire Near ElySatellite Photo Showing Plume of Smoke from Pagami Creek Fire Near Ely
Courtesy Space Science and Engineering Center: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Around lunchtime on September 9, 2011 the sharp smell of smoke was in the air around the Twin Cities, along with hazy skies. The culprit was light northeasterly winds at the surface and aloft along with a stagnant weather pattern. This caused smoke from the Pagami Creek Fire on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near Ely to drift over east central Minnesota. A few hours later the scent of smoke around the Twin Cities had diminished.

The persistent northeast wind aloft is caused by an upper-level low pressure area meandering westward over Illinois. This upper low was once Tropical Storm Lee. The normal progression of weather systems has slowed in response to Hurricane Katia over the Atlantic.