CRITICAL FIRE DANGER THROUGH SATURDAY
There’s a lot going on in the forecast over the next couple of days as we face critical fire danger, smoky skies and warming temperatures. A gusty east wind will be arriving between the late morning and early afternoon for locations along & west of the Cascades. The combination of gusty wind, dry air, dry vegetation and warming temperatures will lead to higher fire danger for about 36-48 hours. The National Weather Service has expanded the red flag warning to include portions of central & eastern Oregon, mainly around the Columbia River Basin. Long story short: a large portion of Oregon and Washington will be dealing with elevated fire danger through Saturday.
The strongest wind is expected in the Cascades, west end of the Gorge and Coast Range. Gusts will be in the ballpark of 40-60 mph. Our western valleys will experience gusts between 25-40 mph. The windiest weather will occur between this afternoon and Saturday morning. Unfortunately, the wind moving from east to west will drive quite a bit of wildfire smoke across western Oregon and southwest Washington. It’s difficult to tell exactly how much smoke will be in our skies, but it looks like we’ll be dealing with more surface smoke than in previous days. Air quality could fall into the moderate to unhealthy categories at times in our western valleys and even along parts of the coast. The worst of the air quality will probably impact the southern Willamette Valley as smoke pours westward off of the Cedar Creek Fire. Make sure you’re checking on air quality values through Airnow.gov by typing in your city or zip code. Varying degrees of smoke will impact the high temperature forecast. If dense smoke is hovering over your city, temperatures will probably end up several degrees cooler than the forecast suggests. If you just see hazy skies, it’ll probably just be a degree or two cooler. We’ve made adjustments to the high temperature forecast for the metro area in anticipation of smokier skies. Temperatures should max out in the mid 80s today, & near 90 degrees on Saturday. Remember, east winds during this time of year tend to warm us up significantly. It’ll even be warm at the coast with the potential for 80s and low 90s.
The wind will calm down and reverse back onshore between Saturday evening and Sunday. This will begin a cooling trend for us, and will lower the fire danger. Highs will trend into the 80s and 70s. In fact, most of next week could feature highs in the 70s. There are signs that rain could finally make a return by late next week, but at the moment, there is no significant rain coming over the next 5 to 7 days.
Hope you all have a great Friday!
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