Light At The End of the Smoky Tunnel


Are you tired of the wildfire smoke?  Most everyone is, but there is light at the end of the smoky tunnel.

Showers are forecast to move into the North Sound starting tonight and continue off and on into Saturday.  The rainfall will help cleanse the atmosphere of the wildfire smoke we have all been breathing for more than a week.

Yet, it will not be just the rainfall that will do the job. There are two other key factors in this smoky weather pattern we have been experiencing.

Quite warm air is above us. Freezing levels have been in excess of 12000 feet for more than a week. It was just a week ago our high temperatures were in the 80s. The wildfire smoke thickened and cut off the sun, and we cooled off with highs struggling to get to 70 degrees.

A temperature inversion developed, when warmer air sits on top of a cooler, more moist, and in this case, smoky air mass. If you flew out of Paine Field this week, you would pop out of the smoke layer at about 5000 feet with much clearer skies above. That is the top of the marine layer or inversion with cooler moist smoky air under 5000 feet and warmer drier air above.

The incoming weather system offering showers will also help to break up the temperature inversion and with some wind, mix or stir up the atmosphere. The combination of the rainfall, breaking up the temperature inversion and wind mixing the atmosphere will all help to move and dissipate the wildfire smoke out as we enter the weekend.

Ah, we all cannot wait to breathe fresher air!  Who knew we would be rooting for rain!

North Sound Meteorologist Ted Buehner worked more than 40 years for the National Weather Service (NWS) from 1977 to 2018. He is now an Everett Post Media team member. Together with Everett Post Weather Minute Podcasts, he provides morning and afternoon commute traffic and weather updates on both KRKO and KXA Radio, and sports reporting on KRKO.