After longest stretch of unhealthy air we’ve seen in recent smoke seasons, Seattle forecast calls for Saturday relief


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The “Donut” sculpture at Volunteer Park last night. Through the thick smoke, you can barely make out the Space Needle!

A post shared by Jeff Green-Compass Washington (@jeffgreenseattle) on

Though the “super massive” smoke plume that covered the Pacific Northwest withstood the last bout of weather and kept Seattle socked in, forecasters say cleaner air is finally on the way after a run of unhealthy skies unlike anything we’ve seen in recent smoke seasons.

The state’s Washington Smoke Blog says the Seattle region should see significant clearing beginning early Saturday:

Encouraging reductions at Olympic Peninsula monitors today and smaller improvements since yesterday in the Puget Sound lowlands. But strong winds off the Pacific are MIA so we have take what the lighter, shifty winds with a little rain (minions!) dish out. These minions are bringing disorganized, mixed results. Some smoke from Oregon fires are now being transported to western WA due to a wind shift, and even though a lot of that smoke is still aloft, it delays the already slow scrubbing process. Expecting Good to Moderate air in much of western WA by Saturday.

In the meantime, Seattle’s air quality measures have improved to “unhealthy” levels Thursday with hoped for start of clearing Friday bringing further improvement. Continue reading

Smoke Season extended: Seattle’s terrible air quality forecast to continue — UPDATE: Rain but no relief… yet

(Image: sea turtle via Flickr)

Conditions Monday Morning

A predicted onshore push of wet weather failed to materialize Monday leaving Seattle with a forecast for dangerous smoke lasting through the week with no clear end to the poor air quality.

A federal air quality alert in place through Monday morning was expected to be extended: “System offshore weakening today,” the National Weather Service tweeted. “Lesser chances for showers and lighter winds = little smoke improvement.” The service said it wouldn’t bother to post its latest smoke predictions as conditions are even more terrible than the calculations and the model is “underestimating current smoke in the region.” Continue reading

‘Super Massive’ smoke plume arrives over Seattle — UPDATE

Seattle’s smoke-filled sunrise (Image: CHS)

The expected push of heavy smoke from West Coast wildfires arrived across the Seattle region late Thursday night as air sensors tipped from “moderate” to “unhealthy” readings across the area.

The city woke up to a grey, fog-like layer and predictions that the smoke will last through the weekend and possibly into Monday. Continue reading

2020 Seattle smoke season arrives as Washington, Oregon, and California burn — UPDATE: ‘Smoke Alert!’

GOES imagery from Wednesday morning shows smoke moving northward

Unhealthy levels of wildfire smoke and ash that arrived in Seattle following the Labor Day holiday will likely persist and — possibly — increase in the skies above the city into Friday, forecasters say.

Seattle’s air quality Wednesday was considered “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups,” according to official guidelines and authorities continue to encourage people to stay inside and limit exposure. Continue reading

Overnight snow misses Seattle — UPDATE: Wednesday afternoon flurries

You can stop refreshing the CHS Traffic Cam page now

Sometime big changes pass you by. Tuesday night’s uncertainty about where heavier bands of snow would fall played out with Seattle and Capitol Hill getting nothing at all.

The result is a thawing city with most — but not all — things kicking back into full motion.

Seattle Public Schools, faced with still icy streets and sidewalks and short-days on Wednesdays, decided to play it safe and cancel altogether. King County Metro’s buses, on the other hand, are providing regular service.

What happened? The National Weather Service lays it out: Continue reading

More Seattle snow? National Weather Service says ‘major changes’ coming

UPDATE: DAY 3 — Overnight snow misses Seattle — UPDATE: Wednesday afternoon flurries

(Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

DAY 2 REPORT: It could be fitting that we haven’t given this Seattle ice storm a name yet — the most interesting days may be yet to come.

With area schools again on two-hour delays and an icy start to the morning underway, the National Weather Service said early Tuesday that the latest forecast information shows “major changes” coming and a possible burst of heavy snow around Seattle Tuesday night.

The level of uncertainty is high. What is known is that, after smaller snow showers through the day, a “a band of heavy snowfall is likely to develop over the Olympic Peninsula and Puget Sound this evening and move north into Canada overnight/Wednesday morning.” What is possible? Anywhere from 1″ to 6″ of snow here in Seattle if things shift even slightly in the hours following the Tuesday night commute: Continue reading

Capitol Hill begins chilly week with light snow and ice — UPDATE: Pictures and what’s next

A tiny snowperson on Capitol Hill

A tiny snowperson on Capitol Hill (Image: Alex Garland)

Snow did, indeed, begin falling on Capitol Hill Sunday night as a highly anticipated bout of freezing temperatures poured into the region.

For Monday morning’s commute, Capitol Hill and the city’s streets were mostly clear of snow — though ice was a different story with overnight temperatures in the 20s. Meanwhile, some areas on the Eastside reported from 5″ to 9″ overnight. Continue reading

A blizzard of information as Seattle prepares for ‘a chance of snow’

A blizzard of preparedness activity and information is preceding the arrival of a “modified arctic front” set to blast Capitol Hill, Seattle, and Western Washington with a shock of freezing temperatures — and, yes, maybe some snow.

“An inch (or two) of snow is possible by sunrise Monday as northerly winds whipping down the Sound run smack-dab into warmer winds coming up from the south,” the Seattle Weather Blog warns. “School districts, be on guard for potential delays and/or closings Monday morning.”

The real concern — or excitement for those of you looking forward to a few snow days — could come late next week.

Capitol Hill got a slushy “snrain” preview Thursday morning. Similar flakes are expected Friday here but don’t expect any chance of accumulation until Sunday’s arctic blast arrives and the National Weather Service’s predictions of Seattle highs in the 20s plays out. A lack of predicted precipitation might keep snow away from Seattle. Things become more unsettled — and possibly snowier — later in the week.

Seattle city officials, meanwhile, are taking full advantage of the early warning to get the word out on how best to cope in Seattle ice and snow. Mayor Jenny Durkan, Seattle Department of Transportation director Sam Zimbabwe, and Office of Emergency Management director Barb Graff held a winter weather preparedness press conference Thursday “to ensure residents are prepared to navigate the potential impacts of any winter event.”

Here are a few things you should know:

  • The city typically expands its cold weather shelter services for weather like we’ll be facing next week. Not everybody will take advantage of it. Call 911 if you see somebody who appears to be in distress on the streets at any time — but especially when temperatures hover around freezing.
  • Grocery stores can get hit pretty hard especially if thing get messy enough that deliveries are delayed and shelves can’t be restocked. Grab a few essentials now but leave a six-pack for the rest of us.

CHS Pics | Six weeks apart in Volunteer Park

What a difference six weeks makes. Add a couple days and you’ll need a third, cloudier view of Volunteer Park.

Frequent park-area photo sharer Dr. Daniel posted this split image from the Volunteer Park Water Tower showing the juxtaposition between Snowbruary and April’s sunny start. Sorry to say, we’re back to a more normal Seattle spring but, if these photos are any indication, just wait six weeks for things to change again. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Record March hotness in Cal Anderson Park

Tuesday brought the warmest March day ever recorded in Seattle. Wednesday — the first official day of spring — tied the mark and then some.

CHS stopped by Cal Anderson Park where hotness abounds when the temperature rises on Capitol Hill. The neighborhood’s central park — even with it busy with construction — did not disappoint during this week’s unusual March heat wave. Check out those ice cream cones. Continue reading