Yuck! Fire Smoke = Terrible Air Quality

June 9, 2014

6pm Monday…

Central Oregon is generally known for clear skies and good air quality, but not on Sunday!  Take a look at the Bend DEQ station’s air quality for the past 6 days.  Looked great until Saturday night; that’s when the wind died down and the smoke settled down into the lower areas.

MarkAirQuality_PDX_History

Those numbers are the peak for each day, and for both Sunday and today the peak was in the late night and early morning hours.

Good news short-term in the fire weather forecast is that we don’t expect hot weather, lightning, or real high winds.  In fact it’ll be quite cool in that area west of Bend Thursday and Friday; high temps only in the 60s.  The bad news long-term is that the southern half of the state is extremely dry and well ahead of “fire season schedule”.

I think it’s going to be a long summer for firefighters in the Pacific Northwest.  Everything seems to be pointing to at least average temperatures for the summer and many indications are for warmer than average as I mentioned in an earlier posting a couple weeks ago.

In the short-term, models are giving us an upper level trough on Thursday/Friday and possibly another Sunday.  Neither appears to be a significant rain producer, even here in Northwest Oregon.  Here’s the 10 day ECMWF rain forecast showing less than 1/2″ rain in the lower elevations of Western Oregon.

ecmwf_10dayprecip

The 16 day 12z GFS model showed less than 1″ as well, more like 1/2″ to 3/4″ for most of us.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen