August 01, 2021

Smoke Moves in Aloft, But Precipitation Fell Exactly Where We Needed It

Wildfire smoke from distant fires has now moved in aloft above western Washington, pushed by southerly and southeasterly flow aloft.

The sky again has that hazy look, with the sun taking on orange and red hues.

But air quality remains good near the surface west of the Cascade crest.

The view from Crystal Mountain towards Mount Rainier says it all.  Below is this morning versus July 19th.  Wow.  I'm glad I did my hiking last Sunday.

The NOAA HRRR model shows the forecast smoke over the region around noon.  Red indicates fairly high levels.

But the smoke is staying aloft over western Washington, something shown by an east-west vertical cross section of smoke at the same time.  Not so good at the surface east of the Cascade crest.

Yesterday and overnight some VERY welcome rain fell over the Cascades and northeast much as a quarter of an inch (see 24-h totals below).  EXACTLY where we needed it to lessen the wildfire threat (click to expand).

And with all the clouds and smoke hanging around, eastern Washington is RADICALLY cooler today, with some locations 25F cooler than yesterday (the maps shows the 24- temperature change between today and yesterday)

Wildfire threat is way down and this gives firefighters a chance to gain an upper hand.

Finally, the models are converging together on the cool/rainy period starting on Thursday....a period that should greatly lessen the wildfire threat for weeks.

Take a look at the 48-h total precipitation ending 5 AM Sunday.  Unbelievably wet, with some areas getting over 2 inches of rain.  If this verifies, the fires near Winthrop and southern BC will get radically knocked back.  

All and all, a very favorable situation.


  1. please include a short paragraph on spokane/north idaho now and then

  2. Boy, I hope this forecast is right since no other forecast is calling for this much yet that I've seen!

  3. Guess what....the dreaded smoke--that is supposed to stay way up there...can now be experienced as of 10pm here in Everett...I will not be opening my bedroom window tonight!

  4. Love that smoke east-west vertical cross section mapping!

  5. Maybe we will get a big amount of rain out of this storm later this week, maybe not so much, especially over much of eastern Washington. Whatever we get I would not go so far as to say it will "greatly reduce the fire threat for weeks". That will depend largely on what happens following this storm as some models are showing a quick return to a hot, dry pattern and whatever moisture we would get would not last long if that verifies.

  6. I'd love to see one of those "where was our air 5 days ago" graphs that I've seen you provide during prior smoke events. Is there an online tool that generates these or are these produced by one of your lab's tools? (and if so, is it in a github repo?)

  7. I've noticed some disagreements about temperatures for the next week or so. Accuweather has highs in the 90s for several days but other forecasting webpages don't show this heat up. I guess we'll see how it goes. Here's hoping for a lot of beneficial rain and moderate temperatures afterwards.

  8. Can the general public generate those smoke cross section images? Or do I need special access?


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