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GOES satellite image (September 10, 2020 at 9am)

Heavy smoke over CA & OR is beginning to move north into Washington – warnings issued

FERNDALE, Wash. — The National Weather Service (NWS) Seattle office, in conjunction with the Northwest Clean Air Agency, have extended an air quality alert for Puget Sound areas that has been in place since Tuesday, September 8th, to 11am Monday, September 14th.

As of 4pm today, September 10th, a Northwest Clean Air Agency air monitoring station on Loomis Road in Custer today is reporting air quality in the area has remained mostly in the “GOOD” zone after it had been in the “UNHEALTHY” zone earlier this week.

Air monitoring station on Loomis Road in Custer data display as of 4pm on September 10, 2020. Source: Northwest Clean Air Agency

According to today’s updated air quality alert, smoke from fires in eastern Washington and across portions of south Puget Sound and Cascade Foothills are expected to push over the area through this evening. Winds are then expected to shift to a southerly or southwesterly direction Friday into the weekend, which will bring smoke from fires in Oregon into western Washington.

Officials with the Washington State Department of Ecology posted the following warning on the Washington Smoke Blog today.

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There is a super-massive body of smoke moving over Southwestern Washington.  This smoke from Oregon and California is expected to impact Western Washington, the Columbia Basin, and even Spokane as it moves overhead.  Not much smoke has mixed down to the surface yet, but smoke forecasts show Unhealthy or worse levels starting tonight on the Peninsula and then through the I-5 Corridor. The Columbia River Gorge region is expected to be Unhealthy or worse tomorrow morning.  Smoke continues to be a problem in Central Washington and in the north Cascades as well because of our own fires. 

Washington Smoke Blog – September 10, 2020

NWS forecasters warned it is difficult to estimate how thick the smoke from the south may be as it moves into the Puget Sound region and additional updates to the air quality alert may be warranted.

Officials warn unhealthy air quality means that everyone, especially those in sensitive groups, should limit time spent spent outdoors, avoid strenuous activities outdoors and choose light indoor activities.

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Officials with the Department of Ecology advised via Twitter today, “Closing your windows before you go to sleep tonight may be a good idea.”

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