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Strange Haze and Acrid Smell Blankets Coast
by Keith Burton - GCN
Filed 5/10/06 6:06 p.m.

Late Wednesday afternoon a strange haze blanketed much of the Coast. Looking like fog or smoke, the haze reduced visibility throughout the area. But more than that, the haze clearly wasn't regular fog as an acrid and unidentifiable smell also was noticed. The photo (left) shows the haze around 5:10 p.m. near the CSX tracks and Iberville Drive in Biloxi.

The National Weather Service reports that the haze is smoke from a large forest fire clear across the Gulf of Mexico on the upper tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. The smoke is traveling north across the Gulf of Mexico into our region. This smoke is mixing with dust and marine layer haze to produce reduced visibilities across the area. The smoke... dust and haze is being observed in Slidell and New Orleans as well.

The National Weather Service says the smoke became trapped under a strong ridge of subsidence over the area, the same stable air that is kept thunderstorm development at bay Wednesday afternoon across south Louisiana and coastal Mississippi. An approaching strong cold from will disrupt this stable layer this evening and bring improving visibilities from the smoke as the column mixes, but will also bring the threat of severe thunderstorms to the area this evening. Depending on the duration of the Forest fire in Mexico, the smoke may return at times on Thursday and Friday.

An American Medical Response spokesperson contacted by GCN reported that the ambulance service had not notice any increases in calls as a result of the haze or smell. Biloxi public safety officials also contacted by GCN said they have had calls on the haze and smell.

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