|This UW ensemble precipitation|
forecast map shows at least light rain
predicted over much of Washington,
notably skirting the Columbia Basin.
A breezy weather pattern has started to move across the state. It’s bringing fresh Pacific air and deflecting smoky air from fire complexes in southeastern BC and southern Oregon and northern California away from Washington.
That leaves no smoke worries west of the Cascades, but fires on the range’s east slope and in the Okanogan Highlands can still pack a smoky punch locally.
The Washington Department of Ecology will extend an Air Quality Alert (AQA) for the Methow and Okanogan River Valleys, the Lake Chelan area and Yakima County until 10 a.m. Monday. Particulate matter (PM2.5) levels could reach Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups levels or Unhealthy levels in those areas.
The band of light precipitation will fall mostly in north central parts of Washington, as shown by the ensemble mean of all models. The AQA is being extended despite the rain because fires are expected to continue smoldering for a while. There is not enough rain to extinguish them altogether.
|A Super Scooper firefighting plane|
flies through evening haze Thursday
over Ecology's Union Gap office.
(Photo: Eiko Urmos-Berry)
Cooler temperatures, though, will help fire crews, regardless of rainfall.
The weather package also includes thunderstorms and wind gusts. While those can start or fan wildfires, the overall benefit of cooler air and rain should help fire crews make good progress over the weekend. Sunday should be breezy and drier, with more wet weather forecast to follow early next week.
We’re posting updated local smoke forecasts for Washington’s major fires on this blog’s Local Smoke Outlooks tab. And, our maps show the most current PM 2.5 monitoring information.