Janine Davis

Middays Weekdays 10:00AM-3:00PM

If you went outside in Uptown Charlotte area today (July 14), you probably noticed a weird smell in the air. To be honest, I couldn’t figure out the odor, but it smelled like a combination of freshly cut grass and old fried chicken grease. I was wrong on both counts. Meteorologists say it was a weather-related issue.

Hundreds of 911 calls came flooding into the Charlotte Fire Department and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. Residents were all complaining of a gas-like smell. Some even complained of feeling sick. And several offices in uptown, evacuated or some employees opted to go home.

The National Weather Service (NWS) explained the smell was from inversions. And they are stable masses where cooler air is near the earth’s surface and warmer air is on top.

The NWS says the air masses get “inverted” from their normal temperature zones. That “inverted air mass” gets trapped and emits an odor. WCNC chief meteorologist Brad Panovich explained it this way. He said, “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.”

Either way, Piedmont Natural Gas officials said there was no reason to be alarmed. Though the ‘gas smell’ was a bit unpleasant, it was not harmful.