Buckle up for active weather today: unfortunately, fire danger is spiking in a major way. Smoke has also pushed into Western Washington, leading to plunging air quality. Temperatures will near 90 degrees for many backyards.
Fire danger starts dropping in the lowlands tomorrow but stays elevated over the Cascades through Sunday night. There could be slightly less smoke by tomorrow evening. Much better air quality is on the way Monday and thereafter. Keep in mind: smoke forecasting is challenging for many reasons, including that the situation changes as new fires ignite.
A rare Red Flag Warning is in effect until midnight tonight for the lowlands. This alert lasts until Sunday at seven p.m. for the Cascades. It'll be hot, very dry and breezy. Gusts between 20-30 mph are possible.
Already, the Bolt Creek Fire in Skykomish has prompted level 3 evacuations. Get continuous updates here.
"Just outside of Goldbar on US 2. That dull orange circle is the sun" (Photo: WSP Trooper Jacob Kennett)
An Air Quality Alert is posted until 6 p.m. today for Pierce, King, Snohomish and Kitsap Counties. In these areas, air quality could drop to "unhealthy" levels: where this happens, people need to stay inside to protect their health. If you can, I'd recommend closing the windows and doors. If you have air-conditioning, it's a good idea to set it to "recirculate" mode. If you do not have A/C at home, I would try to get into another building with clean, cool air.
This alert remains in place for the North Sound until 6 p.m. Sunday.
Here are links to more resources about air quality:
Here is a look at our smoke futurecast: while there may be slightly less smoke tomorrow along the coast, Puget Sound and I-5 might not see improvements until Sunday night. By Monday, an onshore flow will help push any leftover smoke into Eastern Washington. Stay tuned for updates.
Temperatures today are surging super above-average. Here's a snapshot of highs later today:
As for the seven-day forecast, Monday will not only offer cleaner air and cooler temperatures - there may be an isolated shower.
Tuesday will likely end up partly sunny with highs in the low 70s. Wednesday will probably feature morning clouds and afternoon sunshine.
Temperatures Thursday and Friday hover in the low 70s – such a welcomed relief from our scorching temps we have had through much of this summer.
Stay safe today and be weather-aware. We're tracking the latest on fires, containment and evacuations.
Meteorologist Abby Acone
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