Pattern change to bring relief from poor air quality across the Northwest US

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Northwest Regional Weather Forecast


The chance for rainfall and a shot of cooler air will move into the Northwest this weekend.

After several days of widespread hazy and smoky conditions, a storm system over the Pacific Ocean will bring relief from the poor air quality this weekend.

"Some minor league baseball games in the Northwest League were either delayed or cancelled due to the smoky air," AccuWeather Meteorologist Michael Doll said.

This storm system will begin to move into the coastal areas of Washington and Oregon on Friday and continue into the weekend.

The heaviest rain is expected to remain across the western areas of Washington and Oregon, with lighter and more scattered showers moving inland and into the northern Rockies.

According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Josh Searles, "While the storm system will provide a cooldown for much of the Pacific Northwest, the heaviest precipitation looks to remain confined to coastal areas; therefore only providing minimal relief to wildfire suppression efforts."

As of Aug. 25, 2015, there are 66 large fires burning across the United States with 38 of those burning across Washington, Oregon and Idaho according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

None of those fires are contained at this time.

The total acres burned so far this year is over 7.5 million, the most from the start of the year to Aug. 25 in the last 10 years; 2006 was the next closest year at 7.4 million acres.

Only a few of these fires are occurring across the western portions of Washington and Oregon. The expected rainfall could bring much relief to these fires.

With most of the fires occurring from the eastern portions of Washington and Oregon into Idaho, this storm system will fail to produce a soaking rainfall across the area.

"Some areas in eastern Washington and Oregon into Idaho could benefit from a couple of showers, which will at least likely aid in air quality issues," Searles said.

If you are in an area of poor air quality due to wildfires, be sure to avoid strenuous outdoor activities, drink plenty of water and keep the air conditioner filters clean.

It is important to keep all windows closed to prevent smoke from moving into your house. If you do not own an air conditioner, head to an air-conditioned building to keep cool.

Temperatures this weekend will generally fall into the 60s across the coastal areas of Washington and Oregon, including Seattle and the 70s and lower 80s inland.

This drop in temperatures will bring relief to the firefighters that have been battling the wildfires in the summer heat.

What will bring little relief to wildfire containment is the increase in winds.

Winds across portions of the Northwest may gust over 20 mph over the weekend. In areas of little precipitation, this could allow wildfires to quickly grow out of control.

A second storm system could bring another shot of rain into early next week.

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