The eerie tinge to the air that deposited showers of ash in many areas of the Puget Sound region Tuesday seems to be subsiding. KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass says the worst of the smoky skies is over, pushed out by the approach of an upper level trough and cooler air moving in from the ocean.
“The ridge that gave us the warmth and the smoke is moving to our east,” said Mass, who teaches atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.
He expects Friday’s temperatures to reach the lower 70s. Saturday they probably won’t get to much more than the lower to mid-60s.
“We haven’t seen that for a while. And there’s probably a 30 to 50 percent chance of showers in the lowlands, a little bit more in the mountains, so we’ll see a little bit of sprinkles in the area,” he said.
Then a weak ridge starts building back in on Sunday and Monday, pushing temperatures back into the 70s on Sunday and probably upper 70s as we get into Monday.
“So it will be warming up. And then, mid-week, another trough comes in. You know, this is September now, and so temperatures will fall back into the upper 60s, lower 70s. And maybe a chance of rain as we get into Wednesday,” he said.
With the much stronger onshore flow developing, the air quality in the region is improving rapidly.
“Nowhere in western Washington is it dangerous for anybody, it’s moderate and in some places it’s actually getting pretty decent. So I think we’ve seen the worst of the smoke in western Washington, probably for the rest of the year,” Mass said.
To hear the full conversation, including a discussion of why the bad air quality included showers of ash in many areas around Puget Sound, you can click on the 'play' icon at the top of this post.
Weather with Cliff Mass airs at 9:02 a.m. Friday, right after BirdNote, and twice on Friday afternoons during All Things Considered. The feature is hosted by KNKX environment reporter Bellamy Pailthorp. Cliff Mass is a University of Washington professor of atmospheric sciences, a renowned Seattle weather prognosticator, and a popular weather blogger. You can also subscribe to podcasts of Weather with Cliff Mass shows, via iTunes or Google Play.