PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – This is a tough week for Oregon. This is a tough week for Washington. This is a tough week for the West Coast. Wildfire conditions reached a point that was uncontrollable and the weather wasn’t here to help. Today, it will try.
Thursday is going to be the first day that the wind settles for most locations. The gusty conditions from Monday night through Wednesday night are finally calming down. The wind may still gust to the 20 mph range around areas of the western Gorge and parts of the northern Oregon coast, but overall, it’s back down to the 5-10 mph range. This is going to help firefighters.
Now that is discussing the intensity, but the wind direction isn’t going to change for all. We are still connected to that east wind around Portland and surrounding communities. That wind will start shifting for the Oregon coast, especially those to the southwest. We may even have a shift in the wind direction by the afternoon around Linn and Marion counties. We are hoping for this ridge to break down by the weekend and that will also bring in more of an onshore flow that will increase moisture and fully change the wind direction. Temperatures tomorrow still hot, likely in the 90s around Portland with passing smoke and dry conditions.
We will take a look at the relative humidity below which is a parameter that is used to also talk about the moisture for fire danger. It is said that when the relative humidity is lower the fuels will be drier. There will be less moisture to exchange and those fine fuels will be easier to burn. This is what will not change for our Thursday. There were moments on Wednesday where the relative humidity was in the single digits. I believe Thursday will be slightly higher, but still low. The Oregon Coast should have the most noticeable change with southwesterly flow.
For those of you in central and eastern Oregon that have been dealing with local fires: It is going to stay dry for you folks through the remainder of the week. As the wind shifts, with wildfires larger than last week, you will likely deal with thicker smoke.
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