Wildfire haze should ease up through Thursday

Sep 5, 2017, 5:53 AM | Updated: Sep 7, 2017, 7:35 am

The National Weather Service in Seattle‘s Air Quality Alert continues into Thursday afternoon, but Western Washington’s smoky haze has been slow to drift away.

“There’s still some haze,” KIRO 7 meteorologist Nick Allard noted early Thursday morning. “Tomorrow is the day when you will see the least amount of haze we’ve had in days. But it is getting better. It’s just a slow process.”

Map of wildfires in Washington, Oregon

Allard said that wind will come from off the coast and the southwest to move the smoky haze out of Western Washington over Thursday, but that may not move it all out.

“That cloud cover from the south will continue to drift north,” he said. “Even as ocean air pushes in, the cloud cover from the south also has upper-level smoke from fires in Oregon. That’s why it’s tricky to clean everything out.”

Allard said that lower level air should improve most.

The smoky haze around Western Washington is the result of wildfires from Washington to Montana, and also from Oregon. It has dropped the quality of air in the region for days. The National Weather Service reports visibility in Bellingham and Fort Lewis was only three miles on Wednesday. It was six miles at Paine Field in Everett and Sea-Tac Airport.

Wildfire ash and air quality

While smoky haze can drop temperatures, Western Washington has experienced an extended period of hot days. Thursday was the 71st straight day at 70 degrees or higher. Allard expects that streak to break on Saturday, which will be the coolest day since June 17. Saturday could also bring rain, which could improve air quality that has suffered under the haze.

“We just need a good soaking rain,” he said. “Saturday is your best bet, but even then it’s not that heavy.”

Allard said that some showers could move through the region on Friday morning, and a few on Saturday. Rain is most likely along the coast.

RELATED: UW doctor’s tips for breathing amid smoky haze

Western Washington air quality dropped on Wednesday morning, leaving much of the Eastside and parts of Seattle, Tacoma and Federal Way rated “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups,” according to government air quality monitors. By Thursday morning, quality improved to “moderate,” but areas east of Maple Valley were still unhealthy.

Air is worst at elevations between 1,000-1,500 feet. Children, the elderly and people with respiratory illnesses are the most at risk.

Wildfire ash was carried along with the haze into Western Washington, sticking to cars. Ash fell through Wednesday morning, and was reported as far west as Kitsap and the Olympic Peninsula.

“A little bit unusual, it’s a little bit unnerving,” Cook said. “Hopefully, we’ll see that ease up a little bit.”

Auto experts tell KIRO 7 that drivers should not wipe away the ash from their cars, which can be abrasive and scratch paint. Instead, thoroughly rinse your car first, then wash it.

Local News

(KIRO 7)...
KIRO 7 News Staff

35 Marysville teachers receive layoff notices after voters reject levy extensions

Thirty-five teachers in the Marysville School District received layoff notices last week, after voters rejected levy measures that would have funded 14-18% of the district’s overall budget.
21 hours ago
Gwen Baumgardner

Car thefts are on the rise in the region

In Seattle, there have been 2,075 vehicle thefts already this year. Seattle police reported that approximately 86% of stolen cars are recovered.
2 days ago
Kirkland, WA (Getty Images)...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Tax hikes to join booming property values in East King County

Property values in select cities in East King County have skyrocketed, leading King County Assessor John Wilson to warn homeowners about noticeable increases in property taxes.
2 days ago
Pike Place...
MyNorthwest Staff

Enraged Pike Place motorist pleads not guilty to assault with a motor vehicle charges

A man arrested for an assault stemming from a Pike Place incident pleads not guilty in King County Superior Court.
3 days ago
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

Prolific Seattle-area smash-and-grab ATM thieves formerly arrested for murder

60 robberies involving trucks driving into local stores to steal ATMs and cash registers may be solved with the arrest of two men at a Tukwila motel Friday morning.
3 days ago
Dalton Day

Rival to First Student exposes Seattle Schools’ fumbled bidding war

First Student's competition has accused Seattle Public Schools of “arbitrarily and improperly” awarding a district contract to First Student.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Wildfire haze should ease up through Thursday