Hurricane will bring relief from heat
You weren't suffering from blurred vision Wednesday, and there wasn't a forest fire anywhere filling Caldwell County's air with smoke.
That was just a thick haze of ground-layer ozone, said meteorologist Neil Dixon from the National Weather Services in Greenville, S.C.
“It’s a sign of poor air quality,” Dixon said.
Ozone high in the atmosphere protects us from ultraviolet light, but near the ground it can cause health problems, according to the EPA. Ground-level ozone is caused by chemical reactions between different kinds of pollution in sunlight, and it can be a serious problem on hot sunny days in urban environments, the EPA says, but ozone can also be transported long distances by wind, so even rural areas can experience high ozone levels.
But Dixon had good news for the weekend -- at least for Western North Carolina -- and its name is Arthur.
Tropical Storm Arthur, which is predicted to become the first hurricane of 2014 today, may make landfall on the North Carolina coast this weekend. But while the coast is evacuating, the hurricane will actually bring good weather to Caldwell County.
“The circulation around the hurricane is certainly going to help draw that cold front (from the west) further to the east,” Dixon said. “This holiday weekend actually looks extremely nice across the Carolinas.”
Dixon said that the humidity that has been suffocating the county lately will disappear for the holiday and bring “comfortable,” below-average temperatures.
“When I say comfortable, they’re going to range between 3 to 5 degrees lower in the morning and 2 to 4 degrees in the afternoon,” Dixon said. “It looks like the humidity values will be lower on Friday than what we’ll see on Sunday. The change will be pretty subtle. On Friday afternoon, the humidity values may be in the upper 30s during the heat of the afternoon. So for Friday, it will not feel humid, which is what we’ve been experiencing for the past several weeks. But by Sunday . . . the humidity values will go into the upper 40s.”
Dixon said it will be a brief reprieve from the heat.
“By Wednesday, we’ll have lows back to 70 degrees and our highs very close to 90,” he said.