| News

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Weather inversion triggers carbon monoxide alarms in Pittsburgh

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Margaret Harding
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

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read News