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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

The air in Spokane is the best it’s been in days

Smoke hangs in the air as a commercial vehicle heads east along 37th Avenue at Glenrose Road, on Monday, August 13, 2018, in Spokane. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

The unhealthy, smokey air left Spokane on Friday. But it may be back soon.

For the first time since Sunday, Spokane woke up Friday to air better than “unhealthy.”

Air quality swung between “unhealthy for sensitive groups” and “moderate” on the air quality index Friday, which is based on the amount of particulate matter 2.5 microns or smaller in the air.

A cold front that moved into the area late Thursday and early Friday brought rain to some parts as it cleared the air.

The scattered rain mostly was insignificant. The Spokane International Airport reported only a trace of rain about 6:30 a.m.

“I had drops on my windshield, but nothing I would even use my wipers for,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Laurie Nisbet.

Meanwhile, Nisbet said the system brought about 100 strikes of lightning to Eastern Washington and North Idaho.

The forecast shows some potential shifts in the wind direction. The problem? There are fires in most directions from Spokane.

“We are surrounded,” Nisbet said. “It’s just something we’re going to have to deal with for probably the rest of this month.”

The average 24-hour air quality on Thursday in Spokane was in the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” category, according to the Spokane Regional Clear Air Agency. The previous three days were in the “unhealthy” for all category.