Just as Washingtonians were gearing up for a much-needed week of sunshine and outdoor activities, we were hit with another round of bad news: More wildfire smoke could be on its way.
While weather experts haven’t yet confirmed if our state’s air quality or visibility will be affected, meteorologist Samantha Borth of the National Weather Service in Seattle pointed to ongoing wildfires in Northern California as a potential threat.
“We’re not expecting it to be as significant as it was last time. … But we’ll have more information as the days go on,” Borth said.
As of Monday afternoon, the National Weather Service said the smoke would most likely arrive Tuesday night or Wednesday morning and last for two to three days, though it’s still unclear how much smoke is headed our way.
Borth said the weather service will have more information on air quality on Tuesday.
Despite the possibility of another round of smoke, there is some good news — the region is expecting a warmer-than-usual upcoming week, with temperatures reaching the upper 70s in Seattle and the 80s in some parts of southern Washington, including the Chehalis area, Borth said.
The clear skies also mean there’s a chance we could see the aurora borealis (Northern Lights) at night this week, Borth said.
“Usually once it’s dark, you can look north, and as long as you’re away from light pollution … there are good viewing conditions,” she said.
The aurora borealis are the result of electrons from a coronal mass ejection, or high-speed solar wind stream, colliding with the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere, according to NOAA. The lights are usually green, but can change colors depending on the altitude of the aurora and atmospheric compounds, NWS Spokane said on Twitter Monday.