Saturday, September 29, 2012

Air Time: Saturday's smoke monitors and weather update

Air Quality Program, Air monitoring update

Here is the air monitor and weather update for Saturday (Sept. 29, 2012). For more information, check

Other than Wenatchee (“very unhealthy”) and Chelan (“unhealthy”), other monitors at the Cascade foothills and Columbia Basin are reporting a mix of “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” “moderate” and “good.” Several of the U.S. Forest Service temporary monitors have incomplete data this morning, so the WAQA categories are not current. At midnight, air in Cashmere was “very unhealthy,” while Entiat and the USFS fire camp at Wenatchee Confluence Park were reporting “hazardous” air. Other nearby monitors have shown an improvement in air quality in more recent hours, so it is possible these areas are no longer experiencing “hazardous” air. Pateros, Quincy and Trout Lake saw “unhealthy” air at midnight, while Cle Elum reported “good” air.

Most of Western Washington except the Olympic Peninsula saw a little smoke and haze Friday, but the front that moved in last evening has returned air quality to “good” at all but two monitors. Most monitors at the Cascade foothills have shown declining levels of fine particle pollution over the last few hours in response to this front.

Expect clearing to continue through Saturday evening and bring some relief to the smoke-impacted communities of the Cascade foothills today. However, the smoke will blow through the Columbia Basin while dispersing. Winds will die down tonight and become more terrain-driven on Sunday and Monday, meaning nighttime and morning smoke in several areas with daytime clearing.

No easterly winds are expected, so there is no threat of Idaho wildfire smoke over the next few days, nor is smoke likely to move into Western Washington. A strong cold front is expected to move through Eastern Washington around Tuesday, but it doesn’t appear to contain a huge amount of precipitation.

The National Weather Service issued an Air Quality Alert for all of eastern Washington:

The Governor’s ban on all outdoor burning in Eastern Washington continues through midnight Sunday. The ban does not apply on tribal lands where the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has jurisdiction.

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