Let me begin with a visible satellite image at 6:41 PM. Incredible. Smoke covers much of eastern Washington and and is moving into the Willamette Valley and southwest Washington. On the verge of reaching Seattle. But what is absolutely amazing to me are the striations– wave-like features that indicates atmospheric gravity waves in the smoke layer.
The smoke has reached western Oregon and Washington (south of Seattle). Air quality at the surface has plummeted, as noted by the observations at air quality sites around the region (see below). Red is unhealthy for all, orange is bad for sensitive groups. Yellow is marginal and green is good. You don’t want to know about purple. The Willamette Valley is a disaster and poor air quality if found over the south Sound and the eastern slopes of the Cascades.
You don’t think I can top these graphics? How about the radar imagery this afternoon, which shows the plumes emitted by eastern Washington wildfires! Radar is actually a powerful tool for monitoring wildfires.
The amount of area burned today over eastern Washington was unbelievable: hundreds of thousands of acres, with the fires driven by the dry, powerful winds. There are power outages all around the Portland area and to prevent new wildfires from trees falling on lines, Portland Gas and Electric has strategically depowered thousands of customers (see below). Very smart decision.
The winds will be strong (up to 50-60 mph) over Northwest Washington, and with low relative humidities, the potential for fire is still great.
It would be nice for a quiet night in Portland and Seattle. This is a night for sober protection of our region, properties, public health, and infrastructure.
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