After skirting serious smoke impacts all summer, western Washington’s luck has finally run out.
Northwest winds are blowing smoke from fires in British Columbia into Whatcom, Skagit and Island counties, while winds along the coast will begin dragging smoke from Californian fires into communities around Grays Harbor and along the Olympic Peninsula.
|Friday (8/13/2021) Smoke Model Forecast Image|
Some of that smoke will make its way inland over the Puget Sound region and, just like we saw during the record-breaking June heat wave, high temperatures Friday may also lead to biogenic aerosol formation and enhanced ozone production, adding even more pollution to the mix.
So here’s the rundown: Expect air quality readings in the Moderate to Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups range on Friday across much of western Washington, with a few spots hitting Unhealthy. A plume from the Schneider Springs Fire northwest of Naches may also pass over the central Puget Sound on Friday morning and bring much higher smoke concentrations for a few hours.
|GOES-17 Imagery (8/12/2021)|
The Northwest Clean Air Agency has issued an air quality alert for Skagit, Island and Whatcom counties, the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency has alerts for Clallam and Jefferson counties, and Puget Sound Clean Air has alerts for King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap counties. San Juan County should expect Moderate-to-Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups air quality.
The good news is that this is likely to be a short-lived exposure. A cold front arriving Sunday should blow all of this smoke out, and air quality should begin improving Saturday even before the full front arrives.