PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The word smog may be a portmanteau of smoke and fog, but Portlanders who have stepped outside on Tuesday know that the real-life combination of the two is an entirely different experience.

KOIN 6 meteorologist Kelley Bayern said that Portlanders are tasting wildfire smoke in the air this morning thanks to an interesting mix of “unhealthy” air quality, fog and no winds.

“Air quality has dropped to the unhealthy category for many neighborhoods in Portland,” Bayern said. “With the development of fog and absence of winds, the smoke is easily mixing in.”

Bayern said that most of the fog should burn off by 10 a.m. However, air quality is expected to remain poor throughout the day. An air quality alert is in place for the Willamette Valley and southwest Washington through Thursday night. Conditions are expected to improve by Friday as rain clouds move into the region.

“Rain arrives Friday afternoon with hefty rain totals and soggy conditions into Saturday morning,” Bayern said. “Off-and-on showers then continue through Sunday. Models continue to keep the cooler and rainier pattern in place throughout next week finally putting a fork into our late-summer pattern.”

The first significant snowfall of the season is also forecast for the Cascades at elevations above 5,000 feet either this weekend or early next week.

Conditions are forecast to remain hot and dry around the Nakia Creek Fire Tuesday and Wednesday. However, winds are expected to remain calm in the coming days. As of this morning, the Nakia Creek Fire is currently 1,796 acres in size and 5% contained.

Temperatures are forecast for the mid-to-upper 70s Tuesday and Wednesday. Fall weather will begin to kick in on Friday with temperatures in the mid-60s and evening rain.

Multnomah County Health Department supervisor Brendan Haggerty told KOIN 6 News that young kids, pregnant people, and people with underlying health conditions need to be the most cautious. The department also recommends avoiding outdoor activity as much as possible.

“We are seeing, in many parts of the region, air quality that is in the ‘unhealthy for all groups’ category, that means even for people without a respiratory sensitivity it’s a good idea to avoid outdoor activity,” Haggerty said.

“Anyone who has an indoor air filter…it’s a great day to be using those. We can all contribute to not adding to the outdoor pollution, the county has issued a burning advisory asking people not to burn fires, you can also help by saving using lawn equipment for a different day,” said Haggerty.
A representative of Portland Public Schools said they are keeping students and staff indoors on Tuesday and are asking principals to close windows and doors.

While the smoky conditions could stick around for a few more days, the county says we can expect more in the future because of climate change.

“Climate change is playing a part here, this was an extraordinary October…I think we’re in for a lot of ups and downs as the climate continues to change,” Haggerty said.

KOIN 6 News’ Liz Burch contributed to this report.