The smoke enveloping Western Washington goes well up into the atmosphere, according to the National Weather Service.
So even climbing Mount Rainier wouldn't offer much of an escape. It is near freezing at the summit, though, which could be a consolation for this 90-degree heat wave.
The best bet for relief from the smog is the central coast, said Ted Buehner, a National Weather Service meteorologist. Marine clouds arrived there overnight and will give way by noon for better visibility than inland, at least.
As for air quality near the coast, Aberdeen’s Air Quality index has the city rated at good with a 35 as of 9 a.m. Tacoma is still rated unhealthy with a 158.
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Yelm also has a good rating as of 8 a.m., according to the Washington Air Quality Advisory scale.
We’ll have to wait through the weekend before there is any great improvement in the Puget Sound region’s air quality, however.
“Unfortunately until we get some stronger onshore winds or even rain, this smoke is going to be with us for a while,” Buehner said in an email.
Until then, staying indoors to avoid breathing fine particles and turning air conditioners to recirculate mode is recommended.
Through Saturday and probably the following days, South Sound’s air still will be poor, according to the National Weather Service. So you may have yet another chance to see the dramatic bright red sunrises and sunsets resulting from our smoky haze.
According to agencies monitoring the wildfires and air quality at wasmoke.blogspot.com, the Northwest was experiencing the poorest air quality in the lower 48.
“Be prepared for air ranging from moderate to unhealthy over the next few days,” a posting from state Ecology noted on Friday at the site.
As far as our current heat wave goes, the National Weather Service says the ridge that’s keeping temperatures elevated in our area will weaken, giving us a slight cooldown, with a high near 85 Saturday and in the mid to upper 80s Sunday. The forecast calls for partly cloudy skies both days.