Wildfire smoke from Canada impacting Seattle skies

May 17, 2023, 9:51 AM

Hazy sunshine...

The Seattle Space Needle is seen with a hazy skyline in the background (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

It may only be the middle of May, but wildfire season is already impacting the Seattle region with smoke from Canada.

Wildfires have been burning in northern Alberta for over a week. Smoke from those wildfires has now drifted south and arrived in western Washington, creating hazy skies.

Flash floods, thunderstorms join PNW’s erratic streak of weather

The smoke is above 10,000 feet and not in the lower levels, so there are no worries about declining air quality.

Yet, the smoke is obscuring the mid-May sunshine to some degree and will help moderate high temperatures a few degrees from what they could have been. Highs in the Puget Sound area Wednesday will be around 80 degrees.

The hazy sunshine will likely continue for the next few days before a subtle weather pattern changes aloft and moves the smoke inland.

This warm dry weather pattern is expected to continue through the rest of this week.

The threat of isolated thunderstorms is expected to remain over the Cascades again late Wednesday.

Over the coming weekend, stronger low-level airflow from the Pacific will develop, with daytime temperatures for interior regions cooling closer to mid-May average temperatures. Readings are expected to drop into the mid and upper 60s, along with more marine cloudiness.

The current early season warm spell has been record-breaking. Sea-Tac Airport measured four consecutive days with record high temperatures. Friday, May 12, was 82 degrees, Saturday 86 degrees, Sunday 89 degrees, and Monday 88 degrees.

Monday also had the warmest low temperature for so early in the year at 63 degrees, breaking the previous daily record by 8 degrees.

At this point, no significant rainfall is in sight until early next week, and if longer-range forecast charts are on track, perhaps all the way through Memorial Day Weekend.

Follow Ted Buehner, the KIRO FM news meteorologist on Twitter 

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Wildfire smoke from Canada impacting Seattle skies