SURRY COUNTY, N.C. — As fire spreads rapidly across Pilot Mountain, fire crews brace to control a fire that is worsening by the minute. The weather is not in their favor. It has been cold, over last several days. But, it has also been very dry. Unlike in the summer, when the Triad was basking in humidity. The current state of the air is completely different. Humidity has been less than 30% -- there's barely any moisture in the air. If you were to take a microscope and look finely at the air, you would see no water molecules in the air. Unlike in the summer, when you feel like your sitting in a sauna, because humidity is at 60% or greater. In that case, there are so many water molecules sitting in the air that it's uncomfortable!
We have had several cold fronts cross our region within the last month, but, unfortunately, most of these fronts have crossed the area dropping just a sprinkle. The cold, dry Canadian air that has moved in behind these fronts has not only reinforced the chilly temperatures, but also the dryness of the air.
In the vicinity of a cold front, winds will get gusty. As in the case of the front that crossed through Sunday, there have been reports of wind gusts over 20 mph. So, the cold front sped up wind in the area, but did not bring any aid in washing out the fire. The front produced no rainfall across the Triad and Foothills.
Unfortunately, with this prolonged fire event, there has now been a significant impact on air quality in Surry and Yadkin counties. With winds blowing the fire's smoke south, the toxic air is being sent to Yadkin County. As of Monday afternoon, Surry and Yadkin counties are in the Code Yellow which indicates Moderate air quality.
The National Weather Service in Raleigh is encouraging residents across much of the state to not burn anything outside! The low humidity, strong wind gusts and dry leaves are the perfect mix for a blaze as the case in Pilot Mountain.