The sun turns a deep red as it sets beyond the Port of Everett and the Olympic Mountains on a hazardously smoky evening Sunday, in Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

The sun turns a deep red as it sets beyond the Port of Everett and the Olympic Mountains on a hazardously smoky evening Sunday, in Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Finally, rain in the forecast for Western Washington

As wildfires in the North Cascades continued to grow, a new weather pattern was expected to bring welcome change by Friday.

INDEX — After a weekend of record-breaking high temperatures and heavy wildfire smoke, Western Washington can expect rainfall and marine winds to bring relief toward the end of the week.

On Friday, a rainstorm is forecast to blanket the central Puget Sound and North Cascades, followed by lighter showers Saturday and another weather system bringing heavy rain Sunday. The rain is expected to be more than the region has seen in the past four months combined, said Trent Davis, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service of Seattle. Since June 10, Davis said the region has seen less than an inch of rain.

“In that time, based on a 30-year average, normally we would have picked up roughly 5 inches,” the meteorologist said. “To go since June with no big rainfall — that’s pretty impressive for that length of time.”

Temperatures in the region broke records over the weekend for the hottest this late in the year. The high recorded Sunday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was 88 degrees, blowing away the previous record high of 72 degrees set in 2018.

The “much-needed” rainfall in the forecast means weather will finally start looking like what we usually expect for fall in this area, Davis said.

On Monday, wildfires continued to burn in the North Cascades. The Bolt Creek wildfire was estimated at 14,208 acres with 41% contained as of Monday afternoon. A stretch of U.S. 2 near Skykomish was blocked off multiple times over the weekend because of that fire.

U.S. 2 remained open Monday, but authorities said the highway could be closed again if debris from wildfires falls into the road. Road closure updates were posted on the fire’s incident command page.

The Suiattle River and Boulder Lake fires burning in the Mount-Baker Snoqualmie National Forest both tripled in size over the weekend, burning 3,800 acres each as of Monday. The two fires east of Darrington were 0% contained that afternoon.

A fire erupted Sunday south of Oso and was estimated to burn about 8 acres of land near the Jim Creek Naval Station, Davis said.

Critical infrastructure at the base was protected, according to authorities at North County Fire. No cause had been announced as of Monday.

Last week, the Loch Katrine fire broke out in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest 30 miles east of Seattle. By Monday afternoon, the fire had quadrupled in size in the span of 24 hours. It was estimated at 7,500 acres with 2% containment.

Heavy wildfire smoke shrouded much of Western Washington on Saturday. The smoke was expected to stick around for a few days.

On Monday, the National Weather Service issued a hazard alert for air quality in Snohomish County, in effect through Thursday. Air quality was forecast to remain or become unhealthy for sensitive groups. Air quality could be especially poor in the valleys of the Cascade Range.

“It looks like the smoke will just kind of hang around in the area until we get that push on Friday, with more westerly airflow from the Pacific,” Davis said. “Air quality is going to be waffling around the next few days, so it will be worse at certain times in certain areas.”

In Index, Mayor Norm Johnson said air quality got bad over the weekend, but it was better by Monday afternoon. He said the wind seemed to be blowing more clean air from the southwest, as opposed to smoky air from fires burning north and east of town.

“The air quality today is pretty good,” Johnson said. “It’s the first time I’ve actually been able to see to Heybrook Ridge — I can see the fire smoldering and smoke coming out of the trees on the very tippy-top of the ridge there.”

(U.S. Forest Service)

(U.S. Forest Service)

Johnson said some Index residents grew increasingly concerned over the weekend.

“We went back to a Level 1 (‘be ready’ evacuation warning) on Friday, and people were concerned because winds were blowing towards town,” he said. “Luckily they were very mild winds. But some folks were concerned the winds would continue to blow the wrong way in our world.”

The National Weather Service advised people in areas with unhealthy air quality to minimize spending time outside.

The Washington Smoke Blog provides a map with live updates of air quality throughout the region.

Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486;; Twitter: @reporterellen.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Cat killed, 9 people displaced after duplex fire in Everett

None of the people were injured in the fire reported around 1:15 a.m. in the 11500 block of Meridian Avenue S.

Brian Henrichs, left, and Emily Howe, right, begin sifting out the bugs from their bug trap along Port Susan on Monday, May 22, 2023 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘A delta for the future’: Scientists try to save salmon at Stilly’s mouth

The Stillaguamish River’s south fork once supported 20,000 salmon. In 2019, fewer than 500 fish returned to spawn.

Mountlake Terrace Library, part of the Sno-Isle Libraries, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington on Thursday, June 1, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Sno-Isle workers cite safety, unfilled positions in union push

Workers also pointed to inconsistent policies and a lack of a say in decision-making. Leadership says they’ve been listening.

A view over the Port of Everett Marina looking toward the southern Whidbey Island fault zone in March 2021. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish County agencies to simulate major disaster

The scenario will practice the response to an earthquake or tsunami. Dozens of agencies will work with pilots.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Mountlake Terrace eyes one-time projects for $2.4M in federal funds

Staff recommended $750,000 for a new roof and HVAC at the library, $250,000 toward the a nonprofit facility in Lynnwood and more.

Funko mascots Freddy Funko roll past on a conveyor belt in the Pop! Factory of the company's new flagship store on Aug. 18, 2017.  (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Lawsuit: Funko misled investors about Arizona move

A shareholder claims Funko’s decision to relocate its distribution center from Everett to Arizona was “disastrous.”

Senator Maria Cantwell (center) hosted a roundtable to discuss the fentanyl crisis Monday, June 5, 2023 in Everett, Washington. Cantwell was joined community leaders and those who have been personally impacted by the issue. (Photo provided by the office of Maria Cantwell)
Everett leaders cite jaw-dropping stats on fentanyl crisis

Sen. Maria Cantwell gathered those affected by the opioid crisis Monday to push for a unified response to soaring overdoses.

Dave "Bronco" Erickson stands next to the pink-and-purple 1991 Subaru Justy hatchback “Pork Chop Express” car that he is seeking to re-home for $500. The car has been on Whidbey Island for years, mainly as yard art. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)
For sale: Whidbey’s fabled ‘Pork Chop Express’ gets great smileage

Asking price is $500 for the 1991 Subaru Justy, a three-cylinder econobox with 65K miles and a transmission as rare as hen’s teeth.

The Snohomish River turns along the edge of the Bob Heirman Wildlife Preserve at Thomas’ Eddy on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
To build a healthier Snohomish River, more log jams

About $2.8M in grants will help engineer log jams, tear down levees and promote salmon restoration at Bob Heirman Wildlife Preserve.

Most Read