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UPDATED 6pm: Smokey Air Raises New Concerns

UPDATE 6pm:

The WAQA at the Custer air monitoring station as of 4pm today, August 23rd, was 125. This is an improvement from 154 reported at noon today. 125 is in the range (101-150) considered Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups. “Sensitive groups” refers to people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children and teenagers and people who are active outdoors.

UPDATE 2pm:

custer air monitoring station gauge 2015-08-23 12pAir quality as measured at the Custer air monitoring station continues to worsen. A westerly wind forecast for this afternoon is expected to improve the situation.

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The Washington Air Quality Advisory measure was reported at 154 as of noon today, August 23rd. This is considered in the “Unhealthy” range (150-200). The following advice is given by Washington Department of Ecology when air quality is in the unhealthy range:

Everyone should try to limit their outdoor activity. The following people should stay indoors if possible:

    • those with lung and heart disease, diabetes, or a respiratory infection • those who have had a stroke
    • infants
    • children
    • adults older than 65

 

UPDATE 12pm:

custer air monitoring station gauge 2015-08-23

Air quality has dropped this morning as cold surface temperatures have enabled the smoke aloft to reach ground level. According to the air quality monitoring station in Custer, the Washington Air Quality Advisory (WAQA) measure has climbed from 30 (Good) to over 120 (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups) in the last few hours.

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Areas south of Ferndale (e.g. Mount Vernon) are seeing a greater impact from the smoke.

In a special weather statement from the National Weather Service:

Skies in the Cascades will likely remain hazy due to smoke
throughout the day… but the western Washington interior lowlands
should see noticeable improvement during the afternoon.

In the meantime… people who are sensitive to air quality or have
respiratory illness should follow the advice of their physician.

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Original story:

air quality gaugeA late night easterly wind drove smoke from some eastern Washington wildfires into western Washington overnight and into Saturday morning, August 22nd. The smoke then drifted north reaching Ferndale by mid-afternoon.

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According to the Northwest Clean Air Agency air quality Custer monitoring station, the impact on ground level air was minimal. Reading through the day remained within the “Good” range. Possible exceptions to this could near Puget Sound where colder air would have pulled the smoke down and in the higher areas.

While air quality remained good during Saturday, Sunday could be worse. The National Weather Service issued a special weather statement Saturday afternoon warning that the east winds are expected to continue through Sunday afternoon.  Shifting to west winds will improve conditions.

 

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