Cooler weather and clearer skies on tap for Western WA

Sep 12, 2022, 9:36 AM | Updated: 9:53 am
Photo from Flickr

A series of wildfires throughout Washington state have caused air quality in the area to suffer, but more favorable weather conditions are ahead, according to meteorologist Cliff Mass.

There is an upper-level pressure wave bringing clouds and a light sprinkle to the area, helping to clear out smoke from the weekend, which saw some of the worst air quality this year.

At the time of publishing, NOAA’s air quality index is 94, a moderate level of air pollution, with officials warning those that are unusually sensitive to particle pollution to be cautious and possibly reduce exposure outdoors. The closer you get to the Wenatchee Mountains and the fires, the worse the air quality gets, with the AQI in Leavenworth at 330, or hazardous.

The Bolt Creek fire in Snohomish County is burning 8,000 acres of forest as of Monday morning, and evacuation orders have been issued to several mountain towns in the Cascades.

‘When it’s your time, it’s your time:’ Gold Bar braces for flight as Bolt Creek fire rages

Wildfire risk was especially high in the Puget Sound region, which led the National Weather Service to issue a Red Flag Warning to the area Friday before the Bolt Creek Fire.

The air is clearing though, according to Mass, mostly due to a new wind from the south replacing a breeze bringing smoke from the east.

“Meteorologically, the key factors controlling our improving situation are the inland movement of the region of high-pressure inland and the approach of low pressure offshore,” Mass wrote in his blog. “As a result, the latest HRRR smoke forecast is for the smoke to move out of western Oregon and Washington at low levels. If you live in Puget Sound country or Portland you will breathe well tonight.”

King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) has created an emergency severe weather shelter as wildfire smoke continues to bring down air quality in Western Washington. The Compass Housing Alliance shelter at 77 S Washington Street in Pioneer Square opened Sunday, with extra beds being made available for those that need to stay overnight.

The air quality will continue to improve through the week, alongside cooler temperatures in the low 70s and mostly cloudy skies, but it should remain mostly dry aside from a few rain showers likely Thursday.

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Cooler weather and clearer skies on tap for Western WA