air quality

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for western Washington and Oregon Wednesday and said the highs in Seattle on Thursday could hit 95 (35 Celsius) while Portland could reach 105 (40.5 Celsius).
Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Seattle’s above-normal temperatures have been tempered somewhat by a grimy layer of smoke from British Columbia’s wildfires that moved in Tuesday. The influx has made air quality in and around the Emerald City worse than Beijing’s.

Even as the air cools a bit over the weekend, the temperatures will stay far above normal, with the haze dissipating only somewhat and quite slowly, says KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

Tim Durkan / Tim Durkan Photography

If you have been enjoying the warm sunny skies of Seattle lately, you’re not alone. So many of us revel in the long stretches of dry weather that are so favorable for outdoor activities.

This weekend will offer more of that wonderful weather, with just a few morning clouds that should burn off in the afternoons.

On Sunday, India celebrated Diwali with lamps, candles, feasting and fireworks. Now, a day after fireworks for the festival of lights, New Delhi is choked with a thick, dark smog.

The celebrations sharply exacerbated the city's perpetual pollution problems — the BBC reports that in the wake of the fireworks, levels of extremely small particulate matter more than doubled over the course of a few hours.

Minhae Kim didn't check air pollution levels before bringing her one-year-old to Seoul's Yongsan Family Park.

Perhaps she should have. On this day — and on most days this spring — the measures of the most dangerous kind of pollution in Seoul exceed the World Health Organization's recommended limit. And Korea ranks near the very bottom for air quality in Yale University's latest 180-country Environmental Performance Index.

The environmental group Climate Solutions is urging Gov. Jay Inslee to exercise his executive power to adopt a clean fuels standard. 

The group's leaders spoke to reporters on Thursday in hopes of adding momentum to their efforts to follow in the footsteps of California and British Columbia.

Our drier-than-usual fall is coming to a mild end as we return to the "old boring stuff," says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

And that means a relatively dry weekend that’s much warmer than the last.

Tim Durkan

The spectacular sunsets we've been enjoying recently have a downside: they’re indicators of increasing air pollution.

Pollution has risen to unhealthy levels around Puget Sound this week. State health officials say pollution often goes up in the winter.