Hang in there, Seattle — we have one more warm day ahead before temperatures start to ease back down and the smoky haze that’s settled in the area begins to lift.
Friday is expected to reach the mid-90s, potentially shattering record temperatures. On Thursday, it reached 95 degrees at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, just one degree short of Aug. 12’s record, said Steve Reedy, meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s Seattle office.
While the airport will likely hit 96 degrees Friday, Tacoma is expected to reach 98 degrees. Everett should stay slightly cooler between 88 and 90 degrees, Reedy said. The record for hottest temperature on Aug. 13 was set in 2002 at 92 degrees.
Smoke from wildfires in British Columbia and Eastern Washington could continue to be a problem for residents in the Puget Sound region and throughout Western Washington, Reedy said.
He added that air quality values might dip into the “moderate” or “potentially unhealthy” ranges Friday.
According to a post from the state’s smoke blog, run by the Department of Ecology, Department of Health, U.S. Forest Service and various county health departments, the blazes in Central Washington, Oregon and California also contributed to the “smoke bath” the state woke up to Friday.
Because of a “very complex” wind pattern that included different flows at various altitudes, the smoke was heading south from Central Washington and swirling clockwise back up to the Puget Sound area, the post said.
Fortunately, Reedy said, Friday will likely be the last day we’re seeing low-level smoke for now. Later Friday night, we’ll see a westerly surface flow that might not make an immediate difference, but will help Saturday’s air quality, he said.
“Unfortunately we find ourselves in this position where not only is it hot, but it’s smoky, so staying indoors seems to be the big message for today,” Reedy said Friday morning. “Don’t go outside for too long today.”
There’s a light at the end of tunnel, though. After starting to cool down this weekend, temperatures should return to the mid-70s by early next week, with a chance of light showers Sunday night and on and off throughout Monday.
“It’s not too often we have a reason to look forward to Mondays, but that could be the case this week,” Reedy said.