Northwest style is back. Except for the nearby fires, we’re far from the regional smoke.

This week is a great time to appreciate the classics, at least when it comes to Pacific Northwest weather patterns.

The map of eastern Washington and northern Idaho shows precipitation forecasts for Friday and Saturday in small fractions of an inch.
Rain forecast for the weekend
Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho.

A low pressure system arrived late Monday from the North Pacific, dumping some rain on some of the fires burning in northern Washington. The system is in the process of completing its passage over the area. A similar set of rain, clouds and low temperatures should arrive late Friday. There is not a lot of rain, so do not put too much hope on it.

In the meantime, we’ll have two days of high weather, bringing with it light winds and warmer temperatures, but at seasonal levels.

This weather between storms will mean that smoke from the fires on the eastern Cascade slopes and the northeastern high country will affect nearby areas sporadically. Cool air and precipitation in a low pressure system should reduce the intensity of the fire, and give fire crews a boost in containment efforts. High winds are part of the low pressure package, though, with mixed blessing. The wind brings fresh air, but so does the fan.

Weather satellite image of Washington this morning,
With plumes of smoke visible from the fires inside
Okanogan, Chelan, and Yakima counties.

With local smoke remaining a concern, the Department of Environment issued an air quality alert for Okanogan, Ferry, Chelan, and Yakima counties until further notice.

As for the classics, there may be more low pressure systems on the way, interspersed with quiet and warm high pressure. Such a pattern confines smoke to communities around fires, often extending several tens of miles downwind, during the quieter phases.

When light summer storms pass they bring at least cooler temperatures, if not rainfall. On a cloudy or rainy Washington weekend, this can still be a breath of fresh air.

Please see the Local Smoke Outlooks tab of this blog for more information on smoke conditions around areas of Washington that experience significant wildfires.

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