Smoke from wildfires could cloud what’s otherwise looking like a warm and sunny start to the Northwest’s rainy season.
Forecasts from the National Weather Service in Seattle are predicting a sunny weekend with temperatures for Bellingham and Whatcom County in the high 70s, or about 10 degrees above seasonal norms on Saturday, Oct. 1, and Sunday, Oct. 2.
Record high temperatures are possible on Monday, Oct. 3, and Tuesday, Oct. 4, as the early fall warmth continues.
No rain was in the immediate forecast for the first week of October despite a rare third straight La Niña, which usually means a cold, wet and snowy winter for Western Washington.
Oct. 1 is the start of the “water year” for meteorological purposes.
Winds will come from the north and east on Saturday, raising the threat of smoke across Western Washington, meteorologist Dev McMillian said online Friday, Sept. 30.
“Smoke from the Bolt Creek fire could reintroduce itself over parts of the lowlands as winds turn easterly. But widespread near-surface coverage is not likely,” McMillian said.
Environment Canada shows the Vancouver metro area with a level 3 on the weather agency’s 11-step Air Quality Health Index.
The Northwest Clean Air Agency, which covers Whatcom, Island and Skagit counties, hadn’t weighed in early Friday.
Meanwhile, forecast models from the Canadian agency FireSmoke.ca show smoke spreading south of Bellingham later Friday and into Saturday.
U.S. models show that smoke remains mostly east of the Cascades on Friday.
Robert Mittendorf covers civic issues, weather, traffic and how people are coping with the high cost of housing for The Bellingham Herald. A journalist since 1984, he’s also a volunteer firefighter for South Whatcom Fire Authority.