National Weather Service (NWS) Seattle office forecasters report a near-surface smoke plume model shows smoke originating from California wildfires moving north over Oregon and Washington ahead of a front.
Air quality reporting services are not in agreement over how bad the air quality got as the smoke was pushed into the Ferndale area overnight.
Washington Department of Ecology (WA Ecology) is reporting it reached the “VERY UNHEALTHY” range according to the Washington Air Quality Assessment (WAQA) scale. But according to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index (AQI) scale, air quality reached the “MODERATE” range. WA Ecology officials say, “The difference is that the state’s WAQA is based on lower levels of fine particle pollution than the federal AQI. This allows us to alert you earlier to protect your health.”
When air quality is in the WAQA “VERY UNHEALTHY” range, WA Ecology officials advise everyone to stay indoors and do only light indoor activities while keeping windows closed and closing outside air intakes on air conditioners. Anyone with shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain, heart palpitations, extreme fatigue, or difficulty moving or speaking should contact their health care provider or call 911.
NWS forecasters say the frontal system will bring periods of rain and locally breezy winds to the area.
Rain began to fall about 6pm yesterday and southeast winds began getting stronger around 6am this morning with gusts of over 40mph reported by a private weather station located near Ferndale High School before 8am.
The chance of precipitation remains likely into the afternoon and the gusty winds are expected to continue until around noon according to the NWS forecast.
NWS forecasters say air quality is expected to improve throughout the Puget Sound area by this evening as the smoke continues moving ahead of the front.
The data from the Loomis Trail-Custer monitoring station is now being reported within the WAQA “GOOD” range (see below).