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Wednesday morning air is rated ‘unhealthy’

UPDATED: Wed., Aug. 22, 2018, 7:36 p.m.

The spires of St. Aloysius Church are surrounded by smoke from nearby fires in Spokane on Wednesday, August 8, 2018. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
The spires of St. Aloysius Church are surrounded by smoke from nearby fires in Spokane on Wednesday, August 8, 2018. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

The smoke is back and expected to linger or maybe get worse until Thursday evening.

After a slight break from “unhealthy” air quality readings during portions of Monday and Tuesday, the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency reported that Spokane awoke Wednesday to the “unhealthy” air category again.

At 5:35 a.m., the air quality index in Spokane was measured at 159, a tad into the “unhealthy” on the air quality scale. Progressing through Wednesday, the air quality improved to the category “Unhealthy for Some Groups.”

Spokane will see winds blow in more smoke from the west on Wednesday night and Thursday, said Robin Fox, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Spokane.

“We’re not done with this yet,” she said.

But winds should blow away smoke Thursday, she said.

“There will be a shift in winds Thursday afternoon,” said Stephanie May, spokesperson for the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency. “That’s going to transport wildfire smoke away.”

Throughout this year’s spell of smoke, an odd side effect recorded by the National Weather Service is a drop in temperature due to the smoke.

Wildfire made the temperature drop 10 to 15 degrees on Sunday and Monday, when the smoke was at its thickest, said Joey Clevenger, meteorologist at National Weather Service Spokane. Most other days with lighter smoke have seen only a few degree difference between the foretasted high and the actual high temperatures for the days.

“It’s just kind of surprising to see how much impact that wall of smoke had,” said Clevenger.

Sunday was the worst day for air quality on record in Spokane since records started to be compiled using current standards in 1999.

Here are some recent stories that might answer some of your questions on air quality:

SMOKE FORECAST FOR WEDNESDAY

FAQs on AIR QUALITY

SHOULD I EXERCISE OUTSIDE?

IS THIS THE NEW NORMAL?

IS AUGUST A LOST MONTH?


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