Tuesday, July 18, 2017

More smoke in north Central WA than expected

Contrary to expectations, some smoke from BC wildfires did mix down to the surface yesterday. Air quality hovered between Moderate and Unhealthy at several locations in northern Washington since Monday morning.

Here's the satellite picture from Monday afternoon. White streaks are clouds, light grey patches are smoke and red dots are fire locations.

Not expecting a strong wind shift through Wednesday evening, so northern WA should continue to see more of the same today, although smoke in northern Whatcom county could start clearing sooner. Air quality in many communities of northern Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille could degrade to Unhealthy levels today and tomorrow. Some marginal relief is possible in a few areas tonight.

Winds pick up and change direction by Wednesday night but this is a mixed blessing because it brings the risk of dry lightning, which could mean new wildfires. A Red Flag Warning has been issued to address this. Blowing dust on Thursday morning is likely across the Columbia Basin.

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