Dense wildfire smoke blames for deadly I-10 crash near New Orleans

By | November 7, 2023

NEW ORLEANS – Accidents reported on Interstate 10 outside of New Orleans Tuesday morning were not the result of super fogbut rather the result of dense smoke in the area due to forest fires burning in the region.

The FOX Forecast Center said the cause of the crashes was updated after reviewing satellite data and discussing the situation with the National Weather Service in New Orleans.

Smoke created by the Michoud Fire was trapped by a temperature inversion, which then created dangerous visibility on I-10 Tuesday morning.

The Michoud Fire, which has been burning for nearly a month, has burned approximately 200 acres.

Fog was observed in the area Tuesday morning, but it’s unclear how much fog actually developed with the area of ​​heavy wildfire smoke, according to the FOX Forecast Center. There was little evidence of heavy fog in weather observations or satellite images.

According to FOX 8 New Orleans, a man died after being transported to a local hospital Tuesday after being involved in one of the crashes on the highway near Michoud Boulevard. Several injuries were also reported.

The National Weather Service said smoke had mixed out of the area Tuesday morning, but foggy conditions persisted along I-10 between Irish Bayou and exit 246A. The eastbound lanes of I-10 were reopened at Michoud Boulevard just before noon local time.

Hazardous conditions expected to return Wednesday morning

Drivers could find themselves in a similarly dangerous situation Wednesday morning. The NWS said conditions would then be “nearly identical” to Monday night, with smoke once again trapped and there may even be a better chance of fog developing. As a result, hazardous driving conditions could once again develop along I-10 in Orleans Parish and Interstate 12 in St. Tammany Parish.

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This deadly incident occurs two weeks after super fog caused massive pileup on Interstate 55 outside New Orleans which involved 168 vehicles and killed seven people. The highway was closed for several days as crews worked to remove the crumpled vehicles. An inspection was conducted to determine the safety of the road following the accident and resulting fires.

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