Monday, September 26, 2022
Warm and Dry through Tuesday, Improving Weather for Wednesday
The ridge of high pressure responsible for our warm and dry weekend is peaking in strength today, bring warm and dry conditions to much of the state. Over the active fires in the Cascades, unstable conditions have developed which leads to much more active burn periods in the afternoon hours. Coupled with light winds and cool nights, smoke can easily get trapped in valleys and drainages on both sides of the Cascades.
The image below depicts where smoke settled last night on fires in the central and north Cascades:
The ongoing fires in the Cascades are responding to the warm, dry, and unstable conditions today by burning quite actively this afternoon, producing more smoke than they have in at least two weeks. The National Weather Service has issued Red Flag Warnings for the Cascades above 2,000', where fuels are dry and conditions are right for fires to experience rapid growth.
The image below depicts where active fires are depositing smoke this afternoon:
Smoke will continue to impact eastern parts of the Puget Lowlands through Wednesday morning, when westerly winds will push in from the coast with rain chances increasing. Areas in the Cascades, namely the towns along Hwy 2, Hwy 12, and in the Wenatchee Valley, will continue to see smoke impacts through Thursday afternoon. The cold front will drive strong westerly winds through the Cascades on Wednesday, with chances of rain increasing by Wednesday night. Rain is likely to fall on all fires in the Cascades between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, ending the smoke impacts for at least a day or two.
Another ridge will take shape over Washington on Friday and will continue through the weekend, with weather conditions being very similar to what we saw this weekend. Smoke impacts will likely crop back up in that timeframe, but with the wetting rainfall, air quality degradation will be limited to areas closest to the active fires.