Meteorology of Sissonville Fire
Like all the leaks and spills we deal with here in the Chemical Valley, the gas explosion in Sissonville has a meteorology of its own.
Today’s winds have barely blown beyond 5 miles per hour in a general direction from west to east. That explains why the smoke from the fire and any other contaminant have shown a tendency to drift east of I-77.
As in any explosion, there will be an initial spread of the smoke/contaminant in all directions due to a process known as diffusion. This explains why often shelters in place surround the explosion sight, 360 degrees around the ground zero.
After the diffusion occurs, the spread of any contaminant will be determined by the mean wind. Today’s winds being so light have only slowly transported the smoke east and southeast. The slow spread of smoke can be a concern if there is a highly toxic contaminant involved since higher concentrations of smoke/chemicals can occur.
Tonight’s winds will remain light so any additional fire fighting that needs to be done will not deal with strong fanning winds.
One last word, this weekend's rains all but ended the brush fire season across our region. Good thing since the spread of fire could have been swifter after that parched November we went through.