Day 3: When will the smoke clear out of Puget Sound?

SEATTLE -- Most of Western Washington is settling into day three of smoky, "unhealthy" air. So when will the smoke clear out?

Meteorologist Katie Boer says we'll start to see improving conditions Wednesday night with a noticeable difference Thursday.

"Thursday’s big story will be decreasing smoke," Boer said. "Our winds and offshore flow shift and we’ll begin to see onshore flow arriving Wednesday night. That’ll cool us down and gradually clear us out some."

An Air Quality Alert is in effect until 5 p.m. Wednesday, but the National Weather Service in Seattle says it may extend the warning into Thursday depending on how quickly conditions are forecasted to improve. That decision will be made Wednesday morning.

So the bottom line, plan for "unhealthy" air for at least one more day.

The good news: Boer says an onshore flow will continue into our area this weekend bringing about five days of relief from the smoke. 

"As our winds shift Wednesday night, most of us will still stay dry until rain chances arrive Sunday, however, the coast and Washington beaches could see some light drizzle as early as Thursday morning," Boer said.

The bad news: As long as wildfires are burning in the western United States and Canada, smoke will likely blow back into Puget Sound.


TODAY — Smoky and warm. Highs in the low to mid 80s

TONIGHT — Hazy skies. Staying mild. Lows in the low to mid 60s (thick smoke blanketing us and preventing temps. from falling even more)

WEDNESDAY — More smoke. Staying toasty. Highs in the mid 80s

THURSDAY –Considerably cooler. Onshore flow = more clouds, more clearing from the smoke. Mostly cloudy with highs below normal in the low 70s

FRIDAY — Mostly cloudy. Some clouds but a break from the smoke. Highs in the low 70s

SATURDAY — Mostly cloudy. SLIGHT chance of rain. Highs in the low 70s

SUNDAY — Mostly cloudy. Chance of showers 40%. Staying COOL! Highs in the upper 60s to low 70s!!

MONDAY — Mostly cloudy. Shower chance, especially early. Highs in the low 70s

How does wildfire smoke affect you?

The longer you have to be outside during unhealthy conditions, the more it affects you.

As of noon Tuesday, a day spent outside in Seattle was like smoking five cigarettes, according to air-quality comparisons made by Berkeley Earth. Its research equates one cigarette to an air pollution rating (AQI) of 22.  By 4 p.m., Seattle's "cigarette intake" was nearly eight.

In Kent Valley, the number was seven cigarettes. By noon in Port Angeles, that number had soared to 12 cigarettes or more than half a pack in one day.