Hope mixes with uncertainty when it comes to forecasting this week’s wildfire smoke.
Some cooler weather tinged with rain over the next two days would likely make fire crews smile if the package didn’t include some stiff wind gusts.
A low pressure system will swing by from the North Pacific pushing a cold front tonight and tomorrow that will cut across Washington and displace hot dry air from a high pressure system centered over the Great Basin. But, later in the week, after this low passes, the weak high pressure system will spread back over Washington.
|Smoke under clouds: This webcam picture from a resort near Winthrop shows today's north central Washington smoke haze, under an overcast of regular clouds.|
The other side of this coin is wind. Gusts could reach 40 miles per hour, which will likely fan fires and speed their spread. The wind direction will shift from west to north. That could push a lot of the BC smoke our way. It’s unclear how much smoke will be generated and mixed down to the surface. Our forecasting models disagree so far, but we hope to bring that into better focus over the next two days.
We’ve issued an Air Quality Alert for Okanogan, Ferry, Douglas, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Chelan, Kittitas, and Yakima counties through 10 a.m. Wednesday due to smoke from local fires and the uncertain amount of BC smoke that will move south tomorrow.
Western Washington will have plenty of fresh coastal air for at least another day. There will be smoke overhead starting Tuesday, with potential smoke impacts at high elevations on Wednesday.
Be sure to open the “local smoke outlooks” tab on this blog for specific warnings and information about Washington fires.