Share This Page

Weather inversion triggers carbon monoxide alarms in Pittsburgh

| Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, 9:02 a.m.

A rare weather inversion that set off several carbon monoxide alarms kept Pittsburgh paramedics busy Thursday morning, a city EMS official said.

The alarms began about 2:30 a.m. in Squirrel Hill and continued until just before 11 a.m., EMS Division Chief Bob Farrow said. Medics investigated 11 alarms in East End neighborhoods. No one was sickened, he said.

“I can't say all of them are inversion calls, but most likely the majority of them are,” Farrow said. “Normally, there's one or two a day, not 10.”

First responders became suspicious when four calls came between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., and dispatchers contacted the National Weather Service.

“That's very, very unusual,” Farrow said. “Then you think there's something environmentally going on. The last one was about two years ago in the East End.”

An inversion occurs when a layer of warm air above Earth's surface traps contaminants beneath it, said meteorologist Lee Hendricks of the National Weather Center in Moon. About 500 feet up, the air is about 7 degrees warmer than it is at ground level, Hendricks said. The inversion breaks up when the air at the surface warms sufficiently.

Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or mharding@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.