Friday, August 14, 2015

Wildfire smoke forecast through Monday 17 August

Here's what the satellites and PM2.5 monitors saw yesterday. Red triangles are fire locations. Colored dots indicate daily average air quality conditions. Serious smoke plumes!

The first wave of a cold front passed by last evening causing some improvements in air quality around the eastern Cascade foothills but directed smoke from the Cougar Creek fire near Mount Adams, into the central Columbia Basin. Winds are picking up now and will help flush out some of the accumulated smoke across eastern Washington starting Friday afternoon. Strong west winds expected Saturday, calmer, northwest winds on Sunday, and the possibility of stronger winds on Monday evening. So we're unlikely to see a repeat of the above image for a few days. West winds will also limit Cougar Creek fire smoke from reaching Toppenish, Yakima and Ellensburg over the weekend. Smoke impacts in Okanogan county are also likely to be less than the past few days. Western Washington stays upwind of fires so air quality is expected to remain Good over the weekend.

Wish I could end on a positive note like that, but...

Strong winds limit plume rise and smoke from the Mt. Adams fire is likely to be channeled toward Tri Cities and beyond. Expect air quality to vary between Moderate to Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups through the weekend. The Tri Cities area also has a blowing dust advisory through Friday evening.

Strong winds are also accompanied by thunderstorms, lightning strikes, more wildfires, possible mud flows and there are numerous warnings out to this effect. Please pay attention to these and to the health warnings associated with different air quality conditions, as shown in the post below.

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