Wildfire Smoke Will Linger Across Washington into the Weekend

[Guest Post by North Bend resident Mark Davis with Information from the Department of Health]

Wildfire smoke is sticking around several parts of Washington, and forecasts show smoke will likely get worse before it gets better.

North Bend Weather’s Forecast

This summer will be remembered as the “Summer of Smoke” in my book. This weekend, especially Saturday, will be the worst for smoke that we have seen all summer. There are currently 4 active fires North East of us. The weather pattern has shifted to an offshore flow, meaning our winds are now coming out of the east bring the smoke with them.

Normally when our East winds kick up, so do our temperatures. This weekend is no different, we’ll be in the low to mid-80s for both Saturday and Sunday. If that happens, it’ll break a high temp record for Seattle since the late 1800s. A little side note, Seattle has never recorded 2 80° days EVER in October.

Here’s a graph showing our wind direction coming from the East.

Now for the smoke “cough.” As of now, it looks like the worse of it will be around midnight till 2 am. Saturday will still be quite smokey cause our winds won’t be that strong to move it out of here too fast. If you have outdoor plans for Saturday, you may want to consider moving them to Sunday, which will be a little better.

Now for the last part that everyone will probably get excited about Is an early Christmas present…. RAIN

It’s definitely looking like some rain will be moving in on the 20th “Happy Dance” could last a couple of days. This is no major storm by any means, but we’ll take anything at this point. It’ll also help clean out the air, which we all could use at this point.

From the Washington State Department of Health

Breathing in smoke is not good for anyone. Days of consistent smoke exposure can take a toll on your health, making it especially important to protect yourself and those around you by staying alert and doing what you can to reduce smoke exposure.

When it’s smoky outside, track air quality levels on the Washington Smoke Information website and follow related health recommendations. Do your best to stay indoors and keep the air clean by:

  • Closing windows and doors unless it’s too hot to maintain safe temperatures inside.
  • Filtering indoor air is the best way to stay safe, especially during extended periods of smoke. You can do this using an HVAC system, HEPA portable air cleaner, or DIY box fan filter.
  • Not adding to indoor air pollution, such as smoking or burning candles.
  • Setting air conditioning units to recirculate.

If you must be outside, limit physical activity and wear a properly fitted, NIOSH-approved particulate respirator, such as an N95 mask. During smoke events, it’s also important to check on elderly loved ones and neighbors and keep pets indoors.

“It may be October, but it’s clear we’re not out of the woods when it comes to wildfire smoke and the dangers it can bring,” said Kaitlyn Kelly, Air Quality Policy Specialist. “While some parts of the state are experiencing unhealthy levels of air quality, we’re also worried about the impacts of lower levels of smoke for extended periods of time. Don’t wait until you start feeling symptoms to act.”

Those with pre-existing conditions are often affected the most. This includes people with heart and lung disease, people over 65 or under 18, pregnant people, outdoor workers, people of color, tribal and indigenous people, and people with low income.

Minor symptoms include eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. More serious symptoms include difficulty breathing, chest pain, and irregular heartbeat. Wildfire smoke can lead to hospitalization and death. Seek medical attention if your symptoms are severe.

[Visit Mark’s Facebook page here or check out North Bend Weather here. Information also provided by the Washington Department of Health]

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