Updated Thursday 11:30 p.m.
We can breathe clearly now, the smoke is (nearly) gone.
Air quality continues to improve around the Sound, thanks to a strong onshore flow of ocean air from the coast. The arrival of the marine air brought in more murkiness--but this was the good kind of murk. The low clouds and fog acting as our cleaning agent, scouring out the smoke and haze as it swept in. Air quality is now reading as "good" along the beaches and through the Strait, and has been upgraded to "moderate" for the Sound and foothills.
We'll once again wake up to some morning clouds, and this final push of oceanic air should serve to finish the cleaning job. Partial afternoon clearing and highs in the 70s will make for a fantastic Friday around the Sound.
The weekend will feature more of the same: early clouds, afternoon sunshine, and comfortable temperatures. We'll end up close to 80 on Saturday, and will warm up a bit more into the middle 80s on Sunday--a great backdrop for the beer festivals in Tumwater and Lake Union, or the annual Chalk Art Fest in Redmond.
However, the smoke could build again as we head into the work week. Winds will turn more northerly again on Monday, and with wildfires likely still burning in British Columbia, we could pull down the smoke all over again by Monday afternoon. The wind direction will also work to heat us back up, with upper 80s to low 90s possible (although, like with this last round, the smoke will actually prevent the mercury from climbing too much higher than that).
To really get rid of the smoke, we don't just need a change in wind direction. We need RAIN. And Tuesday might just be the day it returns.
The latest forecasting runs are indicating a developing low in the cards on Tuesday afternoon, and as it moves in over the heat, it could bring in not only rain showers, but might trigger lightning, too. This will be good news/bad news with our fire danger so high...while we need the rain, we certainly don't want the lightning to spark any new fires in the region. We'll keep you posted as we get closer!
In the meantime, enjoy the cleaner air and comfortable temperatures for the next few days.
Have a great Friday,
Meteorologist Shannon O'Donnell
The KOMO4 Forecast Team
Today's Record Temperatures