Meteorology of Charleston Regal fire

Winds play havoc with Regal fire smoke
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 7:11 PM EST
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Charleston W.Va. (WSAZ) -Late Thursday afternoon a multiple alarm fire erupted at the Regel apartment building along Kanawha boulevard in downtown Charleston. Smoke that spewed through downtown was driven by a chaotic March-like wind that gusted to 25 even 30 miles per hour. Turns out the transport of smoke in a fire occurs in all directions from the source due to a process called diffusion. That accounts for the scent of smoke all the way to our studio on Virginia street near I-64 and even to the West Side toward St. Anthony’s and Cato Park even with the wind blowing away from those areas.

But as the wind picked up the concentration of smoke in these areas to the west of the fire was much less than it would have been on a normal calm wind day. In effect the wind hindered/offset the effects of the diffusion process. However the opposite effect occurred down toward the West Virginia state capitol and the East End where the gusty westsouthwest (WSW) wind blew a heavier concentration of smoke up the Kanawha River toward Kanawha City.