Seattle weather: Wildfire threat, smoke to surge into Puget Sound

While today's forecast is a refreshing change of pace with cooler temperatures - wildfire smoke and bad air quality is in store for this weekend. 

Highs today will be mild and pleasant, lifting to the mid to upper 70s for many communities around Western Washington. After a cloudy start, plentiful sunshine is on tap for the afternoon. 

Unfortunately, things take a turn this weekend. As winds shift to come from the northeast, smoke from fires burning in Canada and the North Cascades will pour into Western Washington. Puget Sound Clean Air Agency says it expects air quality to lower throughout the day on Saturday with air quality dropping to "unhealthy for sensitive groups." By Sunday, smoke is forecast to intensify, possibly dropping to "unhealthy" levels if not worse. The skies will be super haze. Hate to say that it'll smell like smoke, too.


Air Quality Alerts issued through Monday for much of Washington state due to wildfires

As wildfires continue to burn across Washington state and Canada, more than a dozen counties and Tribal Nations are grappling with unhealthy air quality, prompting the issuance of Air Quality Alerts that will remain in effect until Monday morning.

Stay tuned, because smoke forecasts are fluid and subject to change!

Health experts are advising residents to adopt specific measures to protect themselves from the detrimental effects of the smoke. The Washington Smoke Information website is a crucial resource for tracking air quality levels, alongside relevant health recommendations. For indoor environments, experts suggest the following steps:

  • Closing windows and doors: Except in instances where indoor temperatures become excessively hot.
  • Indoor air filtration: Employing HVAC systems, HEPA portable air cleaners, or DIY box fan filters to improve indoor air quality.
  • Minimizing indoor pollution sources: Avoid activities like smoking or burning candles indoors that could contribute to indoor air pollution.
  • Recirculating air conditioning units: Setting air conditioning systems to recirculate to prevent the influx of outdoor smoke.

Another unfortunate aspect to this forecast: fire danger is sky high for the Cascades this weekend. Both Saturday and Sunday, a Fire Weather Watch is in effect for the western slopes of the Cascades due to dry and unstable air. The fire threat will be elevated elsewhere in Puget Sound, too. In Eastern Washington today, a Red Flag Warning is posted for gusts to 40 mph. 

Thankfully, a westerly flow Monday through Wednesday will offer morning clouds, afternoon sunshine and improving air quality. 

Take good care this weekend!


Meteorologist Abby Acone
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