Hope mingles with uncertainty when it comes to forecasting this week’s bushfire smoke.
Some cool rainy weather over the next couple of days will probably make the firefighters smile if the package doesn’t include some heavy gusts of wind.
The low pressure system will swing from the North Pacific to push a cold front tonight and tomorrow it will cut through Washington and replace hot dry air from the high pressure system centered over the Great Basin. But, later in the week, after this low pass, the weak high pressure system will again spread over Washington.
|Smoke under the clouds: This webcam image from a resort near Winthrop shows smog in north central Washington today, under overcast clouds.|
The other side of this coin is the wind. Storms can reach 40 miles per hour, which is likely to ignite fans and accelerate their spread. The direction of the wind will shift from west to north. That could push a lot of BC smoke our way. It is unclear how much smoke will be generated and mixed with the surface. Our prediction models vary so far, but we hope to focus better on that over the next couple of days.
NASA satellite image of Washington late this morning. Cold clouds cover the northern and coastal regions. Plumes of smoke can be seen near Yakima and Clarkston.
We have issued an Air Quality Alert for Okanogan, Ferry, Douglas, Stevens, Bend O’Reilly, Chelan, Kititas, and Yakima counties until 10 a.m. Wednesday due to smoke from local fires and the uncertain amount of BC smoke that will move southward tomorrow.
Western Washington will have plenty of fresh coastal air for at least another day. There will be smoke in the sky from Tuesday, with smoke effects likely at higher altitudes on Wednesday.
Be sure to open the Local Smoke Forecasts tab of this blog for specific Washington fire warnings and information.