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Smoke to Remain Through Weekend, Air Quality to Improve by Monday

National Weather Service

A change in weather could help diminish wildfire smoke blanketing much of the state. But the air quality probably will not improve until early next week.  

National Weather Service meteorologist Tyler Kranz said onshore winds are needed to clear out the smoke, then rain will come after. And Lane County’s Monday forecast of 50-60% chance of rain, gives the area a good chance.

“The good news, I guess, would be that the winds are on shore,” said Kranz. “So if it weren't for all that smoke that's stuck over the ocean right now, we would already be bringing in cleaner air and skies would start to become blue again.”

But Kranz said the smoke and air quality probably won’t improve until onshore flow has strengthened and there is a greater potential for rain.

“There is at least a chance that conditions—the air quality—could start to improve on Sunday,” said Kranz. “But our confidence in that is just not quite high enough at this time. There's a really large area of smoke out to sea that needs to blow in. Even though we transitioned the onshore flow today, we still have a lot of smoke to move into the area coming from the ocean.”

But we will still need several days of onshore flow in order for the smoke to clear out and for air quality to improve.

“It's good news in the sense that we're headed in the right direction,” said Kranz. “To get rid of this smoke we need the onshore flow. And the onshore flow is basically already here today. And as soon as all that smoke out to sea can finish moving inland, [it’ll] start to clear out. And that should be probably Monday at the latest. Maybe Sunday if we're lucky.”

Kranz said about four to five days of onshore flow is needed for all of the smoke to disappear. 

There will be an air quality advisory in effect until noon on Monday. According to Kranz, Lane County may start to see winds increase to roughly 10 to 15 miles per hour out of the West, Southwest later today. On Friday, Kranz expects winds will be less during the day, with the possibility for five to 10 mile per hour winds in the late afternoon and evening.

Elizabeth Gabriel is a former KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She is an education reporter at WFYI in Indianapolis.
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