The local fire department said that the National Weather Service Greenville-Spartanburg confirmed that the odor was due to a weather inversion. The fire department said it was working with Piedmont Natural Gas to “investigate the source of the odor.” Local authorities urged residents not to flood 911 with reports of the order, saying, “There is no need to report this odor unless you have a medical emergency or you feel that this odor is coming from your home or building,” according to The Charlotte Observer. According to the National Weather Service, inversions occur when the air near the ground cools faster than the air aloft. This, according to WCNC-TV, results in a layer of hot air above trapping the cold, heavier air below along with pollution, smoke, fog and smell. “The odor is exaggerated by a strong low-level temperature inversion,” WCNC Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich said.
We are experiencing a high 911 call volume related to a natural gas order in the city. The @NWSGSP has confirmed a weather inversion is causing the odor, and we are working with @PiedmontNG and continuing to investigate the source of the odor. pic.twitter.com/JWYbO8D5QT— Charlotte Fire Dept (@CharlotteFD) July 14, 2022
“It’s a warm layer of air just off the surface that traps things below it. It doesn’t allow the air o mix up, this causes our poor air quality days as well. It will mix out as the surface warms up today,” Panovich explained. In an 11:02 a.m. tweet, Piedmont Natural Gas reported that there “are no natural gas leaks on our system,” adding that the foul smell is due to the “destruction of mercaptan tanks by a local company.” Mercaptan is a common natural gas odorant. Natural gas on its own has no odor. However, for safety reasons, small amounts of mercaptan are added to it to assist in detection in case of leaks. Mercaptan gives the gas a foul odor. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
The odor is exaggerated by a strong low-level temperature inversion. It’s a warm layer of air just off the surface that traps things below it. It doesn’t allow the air o mix up, this causes our poor air quality days as well. It will mix out as the surface warms up today. #cltwx pic.twitter.com/ZVV6E2Gwim— Brad Panovich (@wxbrad) July 14, 2022