July 23, 2008

Thunderstorms Possible Today As Cold Front Approaches Region

By Cindy Clayton and Patrick Wilson, The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Va.

Jul. 23--A touch of that familiar smoke smell crept back into Hampton Roads on Tuesday night and had turned the air in some spots hazy this morning.

Hot and dry conditions caused the wildfire burning in the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge to produce smoke Tuesday. More smoke is possible Wednesday.

The fire has been burning in peat underground, but hasn't produced smoke in recent days because of rain, authorities said.

The fire started June 9 when logging equipment caught fire.

There is a chance of thunderstorms this afternoon and tonight as a cold front approaches the region, the National Weather Service said. The storms could bring strong winds and damaging hail.

Today's high is expected to reach 92 with a low tonight in the 70s, the weather service says. Tomorrow's high should be about 84 with an additional chance for thunderstorms.

Firefighters hope to stop the swamp fire from spreading this week. The weather will be a factor, authorities said.

Air quality in Hampton Roads was predicted to be moderate today, according to a notice sent yesterday by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

A small craft advisory is in effect today, according to the weather service. The risk of rip currents is low.

For more information about the air quality forecast, visit www.weather.gov/aq/sectors/midatlantic.php?period=2#tabs.


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