Oak Hill, WV (WOAY-TV): As the inversion develops tonight, smoke will become concentrated in the New River Gorge, then a warm, breezy day is expected Wednesday.
AIR QUALITY CONCERNS: As particulate matter increases, air quality, currently in the moderate range, could escalate even higher. The reason for the concern is an inversion developing overnight with cooler air near the New River and warmer air aloft. This is a recipe for the smoke to spread horizontally along the river basin rather than escaping into the atmosphere. The air quality will likely improve Wednesday afternoon as the inversion breaks and winds increase. Ultimately, a cold front late Thursday into Friday that will bring rain and a wind shift to the north will help to flush out the particulate matter.
BRUSH FIRE RISK: Lower humidity overnight and developing inversion will decrease the brush fire risk and the prospect of the Steep Valley Fire from spreading further into the New River basin. The only spots of concern are those areas on the adjacent ridges where the overnight inversion breaks (near the ridgeline). Temperatures are typically warmer and humidity is lower in this particular area of a brush fire.
The brush fire risk will increase between 1-5 p.m. Wednesday as the inversion breaks, breezy winds develop, humidity lowers to around 45% and the temperature skyrockets into the 70s.
The brush fire risk will then decrease late Thursday into Friday as a cold front brings cooler temperatures and rain. The risk will be lower this weekend thanks to a cooler pattern and moderate humidity.
LOOK AHEAD: Following the transition to a cooler, more seasonable pattern this weekend, temperatures will warm perhaps to near record territory November 16-20. The first part of this time frame (November 16-18) will see an increased brush fire risk before a storm system around November 19-20 likely brings a threat for rain.