SMOKE LINGERS: National Weather Service extends Air Quality Alert into tomorrow

With morning views like that one from Don Brubeck riding on the low bridge, above, and from Roy van Duivenbode, riding on the Water Taxi, below, you won’t be surprised to hear the National Weather Service has extended its wildfire-smoke-fueled Air Quality Alert for the area into tomorrow, now set to expire at 5 pm Wednesday.

The NWS’s latest “forecast discussion” acknowledges “many reports of falling ash” (we first mentioned it late last night), saying it “will likely continue” this afternoon. Here’s a car-top view of that, from David Hutchinson on Alki:

Back to the NWS update:

The smoke will actually help keep high temperatures down today. Have updated the morning forecast to reflect this with highs generally reaching into the mid to upper 80s over much of the area … The thermally induced surface trough along the coast will move into the interior late this afternoon helping start the transition back to onshore flow along the coast in the afternoon and evening. The heat advisory remains in effect for parts of the area today.

Weak low-level flow onshore tonight will help marine clouds work onto the coast and to a limited extend into the interior, reaching as far as (Shelton) by Wednesday morning. This will help improve air quality somewhat as smoke clears from the west overnight. It is likely that this clearing will mostly affect the coast and strait tonight, with smoke likely lingering into Wednesday over much of the interior. Have extended the air quality alert through Wednesday afternoon to reflect this.

No burn ban, though; we have a question out to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency seeking information about that.

If you’re looking for wildfire updates – lots of info here. (And a smoke-specific update is here, with questions being answered in the comment section.)

P.S. Expect another red moon tonight – moonrise is at 7:41 pm, and it’s officially full just after midnight.

31 Replies to "SMOKE LINGERS: National Weather Service extends Air Quality Alert into tomorrow"

  • Swede. September 5, 2017 (1:24 pm)

    Sadly the weather for cast changed from expected rain Thursday and Friday to just more heat too…

    • WSB September 5, 2017 (1:43 pm)

      Not the Seattle forecast:

      THURSDAY…Mostly cloudy. A slight chance of thunderstorms in the morning, then a chance of showers in the afternoon. Highs in the 70s. South wind to 10 mph.

      THURSDAY NIGHT…Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers. Lows near 60.

      FRIDAY…Cloudy with a chance of showers. Highs in the lower to mid 70s.

      FRIDAY NIGHT…Mostly cloudy. A chance of showers in the evening, then a slight chance of showers after midnight. Lows in the lower to mid 50s.

      Next forecast update should be around 3-4 pm.

  • JimClark September 5, 2017 (2:06 pm)

    Sheesh way hot in the house now but already have a bunch of ash in the house where windows were open overnight.

  • Just Wondering September 5, 2017 (2:20 pm)

    So nothing to compare with what happened everywhere (but Seattle) after Mt. St. Helen’s but the ash is  something to see!

    • Swede. September 5, 2017 (6:29 pm)

      Or when Mt. Rainier blows.. 

  • W.Marginal Outlaw September 5, 2017 (3:07 pm)

    Do NOT wipe the ash off your car, It will scratch it.

    After it stops, Use cold water to rinse it off..

  • Curate September 5, 2017 (3:23 pm)

    Is it just me, or are folks feeling the effect of the particulate? I have controlled asthma but nonetheless am experiencing what can only be described as a noticeable heaviness in my chest today. (No wheezing, though). And intermittent headache. I am wondering if it’s all in my head?

    • miws September 5, 2017 (4:57 pm)

      Curate, not just you. I have asthma and COPD and am definitely feeling a difference today; the heavy chest and a little wheezier than usual. 

      Fortunately, I didn’t have any commitments today, so have been able to just stay home and avoid exertion. 


  • TeacherMom September 5, 2017 (4:06 pm)

    The cart wranglers out in the parking lot at Costco were all wearing dust masks this afternoon.  

  • Kate September 5, 2017 (4:29 pm)

    I had a crushing headache last night and I never get headaches. I have mild exercised induced asthma, but am really feeling no different than I normally do this time of year with seasonal allergies. I have read a few FB posts from people expressing issues with itchy eyes and heavy chests, though.

  • anonyme September 5, 2017 (4:34 pm)

    Curate, you’re not alone.  Lots of people are suffering the effects of smoke inhalation, and the particulate matter makes it much, much worse.  Headache, sore throat, heaviness in chest, cough, eye irritation, general malaise – all symptoms that many of us are experiencing.  I think the assumption that only “sensitive” individuals are at risk is absurd.

    I just heard on the news that a statewide burn ban has been announced.  Puget Sound Clean Air Agency remains silent.  Not sure what those of us without air conditioning can do; shutting all the windows and staying inside isn’t really an option…

    • WSB September 5, 2017 (5:10 pm)

      The statewide burn ban is on public lands, called by the DNR. I’ll find the source link but meantime, here’s one story about it:

      (added – here’s the source URL: – very confusingly written but third graf has the summary: “The statewide ban means outdoor burning is prohibited on all forestlands that DNR protects from wildfire.”)

      As for Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, the communications director has not responded to my question “why no burn ban?” It does appear they were launching a website redesign today – though aside from the inaccessibility issues earlier, that shouldn’t have any effect on any other action/activity. This is not usually the time of year they would be so busy – they’re usually in the spotlight during inversions in winter – but OTOH this wildfire-smoke situation has been happening on and off for months.

  • JayDee September 5, 2017 (5:17 pm)

    I posted on FB that the sunlight and sun were an unhealthy Trump orange color. But that is a double negative.  I did have a slight sinus headache when I woke up and remembered smelling the smoke around 12 AM.

  • Mater September 5, 2017 (5:39 pm)

    Looking for a fund raising car wash this weekend.

  • waikikigirl September 5, 2017 (5:48 pm)

    @Kate..oh to never have a headache you are so lucky, I have headaches everyday. 

    I’m feeling little effects from the smoke, burning eyes and a small cough.

    Please let it rain!

  • Mark September 5, 2017 (6:17 pm)

    I’m tired of feeling down wind of a campfire and unable to get away from the smoke.  Bring on the onshore flow!

  • Colette September 5, 2017 (8:50 pm)

    Great idea to have a car wash (or more than one).  Perhaps a good fundraising opportunity for a school or other organization?

  • Ben Hutchinson September 6, 2017 (12:23 am)

    Normally, any smoke in the air will make the sunrise or sunset extra deep orange red, but once the sun gets high enough in the sky it will return almost back to normal brightness. Not today though. Today, the sun had this deep sunset/sunrise red color even when it was much higher in the sky. I took this picture at 8:30 AM, a couple hours after sunrise. The smoke dimmed the sun enough that I was able to get this picture without using a solar filter on my camera, and some sunspots are even visible.

  • anonyme September 6, 2017 (5:07 am)

    It is inexcusably irresponsible that the so-called Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has not issued a burn ban.  The air quality could hardly be worse than it is right now, far worse than the smoky conditions a month or so ago.  When a burn ban was finally announced, it was almost immediately retracted, then reinstated when everyone with lungs or a brain cried “WTF?” – then retracted again.  I’d like to see an investigation into the Board, which consists primarily of politicians, to see who this agency actually serves.  It ain’t us.

  • Born on Alki 59 September 6, 2017 (8:56 am)

    Actually the DNR has issued a statewide burn ban that supercedes all other agencies.

  • Dennis King September 6, 2017 (9:13 am)

    With the ECLIPS over and the “DO NOT LOOK AT THE SUN” burned into our minds…what is the word for looking at the sun the smoke and haze?

    • Ma Meta September 6, 2017 (11:40 am)

      LOL I had the same exact thought/question.

  • Jeannie September 6, 2017 (3:44 pm)

    This is confusing:

    The DNR burn ban: “The statewide ban means outdoor burning is prohibited on all forestlands that DNR protects from wildfire.”

    Does that mean outdoor burning IS permitted in places like Alki?? That doesn’t make sense.

  • anonyme September 6, 2017 (4:31 pm)

    I believe the DNR burn ban is in regard to fire safety outside of municipalities.  Puget Sound Clean Air can issue burn bans related to air quality.  They have not done so, which IMO is beyond negligent.  Conveniently, they can’t be contacted.  WSB reached out to them, but I don’t think they responded to them either.  Fire danger exists within our city as well as in forests, so it makes no sense that we have no bans in effect within Seattle.

  • Jeannie September 6, 2017 (8:16 pm)

    Well, for what it’s worth, I’ve been posting on their FB page. A lot of people, including myself, are really angry.

  • Makeitstop September 6, 2017 (11:38 pm)

    I don’t get the outrage. How could any beach bonfire have any discernible effect on air quality right now?

    and who would be lounging outside by a bonfire right now, anyway? Lack of a burn ban is a non-issue, and complainers are just a bunch of indignant whiners!

    • miws September 7, 2017 (8:41 am)

      Ummm….some of us have one or more lung conditions. It’s been reported over the past several days that air quality has been bad enough that even those with perfectly healthy lungs should avoid being out in the smoky haze, or should, at least, avoid excessive exertion. 

      And, no, we don’t whine about it. we simply point out facts and share how these conditions affect us or others we know.


      • WSB September 7, 2017 (11:50 am)

        Finally got to talk to someone from Puget Sound Clean Air Agency about the question: Why WASN’T there a burn ban? Some fascinating components to the story, which you’ll see here in an hour or so.

  • Makeitstop September 7, 2017 (1:26 pm)

    Please let us know soon- as Jeanie and many others are really angry about this..

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