U.S. NEWS

Wildfire Smoke Begins To Clear Up In Seattle

The air quality in Seattle and other parts of Washington, classified as "unhealthy," is finally beginning to improve.
08/23/2018 02:34 PM ET
This is what the Seattle skyline is supposed to look like in the summer.
(JASON REDMOND/Reuters)

After enduring 87 hours of consecutive smoke due to local and regional wildfires, Seattle and other parts of the Pacific Northwest are finally seeing some clearer skies ― sort of.

“Sea-Tac Airport observations reported smoke for a consecutive 87-hour period beginning on the afternoon of August 19th,” the National Weather Service in Seattle tweeted on Thursday morning. “That streak ended at 7am as the latest observations are reporting light drizzle & mist with 0.01” of accumulation.”

The heavy smoke was replaced by a slight drizzle.

The Washington State Department of Transportation celebrated news of the rain. “Do not be alarmed. That water falling from the sky is our friend,” the agency tweeted.

Photos of the smoke-choked Seattle skyline circulated on social media earlier this week as residents and tourists gawked at the poor air conditions.

“It’s snowing ash in Seattle,” one Twitter user wrote Monday.

“The #wildfire smoke in Seattle is legit scifi-level gross,” wrote another person on Twitter. “I’ve got red eyes and sore throat even though I’ve been mostly inside the last three days.”

Vox reported that the city’s Air Quality Index had reached 190 on Wednesday morning, noting that the lower AQI of 150 is “roughly equal to smoking seven cigarettes in a day.” 

Morgan Palmer, a meteorologist in Seattle, tweeted Monday he was “speechless.”

On Thursday, Palmer tweeted a more positive weather update: “Air quality is now GOOD in some spots! It’s finally ending.”

Still, the National Weather Service warned in a follow-up tweet: “Northwest winds aloft will likely bring more of that smoke down this weekend.”

“There are still a lot of very active fires burning on Vancouver Island and in British Columbia,” it added.