Air quality alerts set to expire but not until tonight


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — We’re still working through some leftover wildfire smoke and air quality alerts this morning. We are hopeful that the air quality improves later today for those of you south of Portland who are still battling through some lower air quality.

As the overall wind shifts and we scour out some of the particulates near the surface, conditions will then improve. For now, those of you in Clackamas County and Marion County are still in the zone for lower air quality today.

As the wind shifted earlier in the week and brought the wildfire smoke in, it lowered the air quality around here. The wind around the surface didn’t do us much help either, allowing for turbid conditions around here on Tuesday.

Fast-forward to today and we are making that final push for better air. Below is a zoomed-in image of the air quality advisory for some of the local communities. Although the delineation of the advisory is by the county line, that doesn’t mean some across Multnomah County may not have a few spots prone to lower air quality. It goes the other way too, where some residents closer to Portland and Multnomah County may have air quality that isn’t too bad. The closer you are to eastern Marion County, the worst the air quality will likely be.

I want to point out that we are already a quarter inch behind where we should be for observed rain in Portland. The small amount of rain we had 24 hours ago just brought crud to our cars from the particulates above. It won’t look the same this morning unless you didn’t check your car on Wednesday morning. It’s probably still dirty. Will we bring some rain in before fall arrives? We have no rain in the forecast today around here. We may have some development to the east nearing the end of the week.

There is a vast amount of wildfire smoke out there right now. Hours, days, and weeks go by, and for some wildfires, they’ve been burning for an extended period of time this summer. There is plenty of smoke to be dispersed to the atmosphere as wildland firefighters are still trying to manage these massive wildfires across the western states.

I’m not sure if there have been many days that Idaho has even escaped much wildfire smoke. With a westerly flow from the wind, they’ve been the target of the wildfire season in Washington, Oregon, and California. Air quality has been a problem outside of the Willamette Valley for a large chunk of the summer. This sticks around today, sorry to say it.

When you pair the image above with what is happening in the weather pattern below, it all adds up. We have a large area of high pressure that is now settling into the four corner states. The wind is riding up over the top of that ridge and then back down on the eastern edge. The wildfire smoke is carrying with that wind pattern today. The tough spots are going to be up in northern Idaho and Montana this afternoon.

Eventually, that smoke will transport more to the south and east as it carries with the wind to The Dakotas. As the high pressure spirals east, the temperatures will cool around the Willamette Valley. Thursday will also be a bit of a transition day before the 70s find a way back to the afternoon forecast.

In the morning, temperatures in the lower 60s. Clouds may develop in the early hours, but I would expect sunshine around in the afternoon. Temperatures should crack 80 tomorrow, but we will be slightly cooler by Friday. If you find your location on the map below, you will have a general idea of the temperature around your part of the state.

Temperatures in the 60s for the Oregon Coast, warmer to the north. Weather models are displaying near mid-80s around Portland. I would knock it down a few because of the clouds that are expected. You can see that the wind is coming out of the west or northwest today. Again, that wind near the surface is going to help push the wildfire smoke out of here.

Temperatures are still summer warm out in the Lower Columbia Basin with highs near 90. Conditions are going to be dry and warm around Central Oregon, so we may have to be concerned for fire dangers as well. We fall into a pattern of 70s after this, so use the 80-degree temperature to your advantage!

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