Two-day heat wave bringing bad air
Hot weather in store for Seattle, but it could mean more smog.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Just as Seattle begins to simmer in what could be the hottest days of the year, higher levels of smog are expected to hang over Puget Sound and Cascade foothill communities.
It's even possible an offshore flow will suck some of that smoke from the Taylor Bridge wildfire through Snoqualmie Pass and into Western Washington.
The National Weather Service says temperatures may reach the mid- to upper 90s on Thursday and Friday. The end-of-the-week heat will be comparable to temperatures seen on Aug. 4 and 5, said NWS meteorologist Allen Kam, who is personally just fine with that.
"I'm not ready to give up summer," Kam said. "We didn't get enough of it."
Those sensitive to heat, however, and those with respiratory illness may feel differently.
Hot weather and ground-level ozone is reason enough for people sensitive to air pollution to reduce time spent outside, according to the state Department of Health. Children, people with heart and lung problems, and adults over the age of 65 are considered vulnerable.
Hot temperatures "cook" vehicle and industry emissions, paints, solvents, and gasoline fumes together, forming ground-level ozone, the main component of smog, according to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.
Smog can trigger asthma attacks, exacerbate lung and heart problems and weaken one's immune system, the agency says.
Several communities such as Bellevue and Renton are reminding residents that if they need a place to beat the heat and reduced air quality, they can seek relief in air-conditioned public buildings such as libraries and senior centers.
If the offshore flow does bring smoke into the Puget Sound area from the Taylor Bridge wildfire between Cle Elum and Ellensburg, air quality will be downgraded to moderate, which the agency says is "a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution."
Kam says he doesn't expect the 10- to-20-mph offshore winds to draw too much smoke through the pass, though.
Alexa Vaughn: 206-464-2515 or email@example.com. On Twitter @AlexaVaughn.