If you watched our coverage of the explosion, you’ll remember the role weather played as events unfolded throughout the day.
DULUTH, MN — If you watched our coverage of the explosion, you’ll remember the role weather played as events unfolded throughout the day.
Weather plays a critical role in fires. If we see a dry period with high winds, there’s a big potential for wildfires.
However, the day of the explosion, a cold front was passing through the region during the fire, and winds were gusting up to 25 mph.
The high winds did two things: one, the wind fed oxygen to the fire, making it a little more robust. It also helped disperse smoke.
The fire was picked up on Doppler Radar, which also showed where the smoke was moving to.
Meteorologists say the biggest things to make people aware of were where the evacuation area was, which was one mile to the east, one mile to the west, and ten miles to the south.
Another item was where the smoke plume was and where it was going, as well as how high the plume was. It showed how strong the fire was.
The third item was what was going to happen in the future, where the winds were going to take this smoke. At the time, the winds looked like they were going to shift, so we needed to tell people downwind that you have the potential of a toxic cloud coming your way.
Meteorologists say if an east wind had kicked in, the evacuation zone would have been completely different.