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Air quality warning extended into Monday when rain returns

Smoke across Possession Sound. (MyNorthwest photo)

A ‘super massive’ cloud of smoke is headed toward Washington on Friday

The National Weather Service has extended an air quality warning ends at 11 a.m. Monday across western Washington. Initially, it expired Thursday morning.

Forecasters say winds will shift on Friday and smoke from Oregon will move into the area.

Record high temperatures will be arriving across the interior of Western Washington on Thursday, the NWS reports, with “a little cooling along the coast.” In the Seattle area, temperatures will reach the high-80s to low-90s.

Forecasters say rain could move into western Washington on Monday and Tuesday as a front moves into the area Sunday. Sunday will also bring with it cooler, more seasonable temperatures and clouds. It’s not clear yet about how much rain the system will bring.

Rain in the forecast is relief to most of the state, which is dealing with smoke, wildfires, or both.

Check the Washington Department of Ecology Air Quality Map

In the Seattle, Bellevue, and Kent areas, air quality hovered in the range of 115 to 140.  In Everett, 146.  Tacoma dropped from 150 to mid 130s. Yakima, Moses Lake, and Omak started in the mid 200 range and have improved to about 150. Chelan improved from the low 300s to below 200 on Thursday.

Air quality is typically measured on a scale of 0 to 500. Between 51 and 100 is considered “moderate,” 101 to 150 is “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” 151 to 200 is “unhealthy,” 201 to 300 is “very unhealthy,” and 301 to 500 is considered “hazardous.”

The NWS also says that more smoke is “possible into the weekend as winds shift southerly.”

“Unhealthy air quality means that everyone, especially sensitive groups, should limit time spent outdoors, avoid strenuous activities outdoors, and choose light indoor activities,” the NWS warns.

While smoke remains, residents are advised to keep windows closed and avoid going outdoors whenever possible, especially those with preexisting respiratory problems.

Smoke moves into Puget Sound region, wildfires burn across Washington

The Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington has put together a list of tips for dealing with smoke. Besides closing windows and staying indoors, the DEOHS recommends people avoid vacuuming or frying food. Also, try to recirculate air with a fan that has a filter. You can build your own by putting a HEPA filter into a box fan.

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