Smoke-enhanced fog plume causes multi-vehicle accidents along I-10 near New OrleansGOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) showed a narrow (2-4 miles in width) plume of smoke+fog — the smoke was from a marsh fire burning near New Orleans East — that was moving to the northwest across Lake Pontchartrain after sunrise on 07 November 2023. This dense smoke+fog plume rapidly reduced visibility along a portion of Interstate 10, resulting in several accidents (media report).
A plot of rawinsonde data from New Orleans at 1200 UTC (below) indicated that there was a pronounced and very shallow temperature inversion just above the surface, which was trapping the dense wildfire smoke+fog near the surface and preventing its vertical dispersion (until a few hours after sunrise, when boundary layer mixing began to increase).
===== 08 Nov Update =====On the following day, GOES-16 Nighttime Microphysics RGB and daytime Visible images (above) showed another smoke+fog plume, which persisted long enough after sunrise to impact traffic along the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. Prior to sunrise, Nighttime Microphysics RGB imagery revealed the plume thickening near New Orleans East and beginning to move NW across the lake — and around 1100 UTC, I-10 and I-510 in that vicinity were proactively closed for several hours until visibility improved.
Unlike the previous day — when a veil of high clouds frequently prevented a view of low clouds/fog — a more distinct fog signature was seen in GOES-16 Night Fog Difference images (below).