A sailboat navigates its way through the smoke on Possession Sound on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A sailboat navigates its way through the smoke on Possession Sound on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Rain and wind wash away much of the smoke, but be cautious

The air was expected to be potentially hazardous in most areas of Snohomish County until Saturday morning.

SEATTLE — Air quality in Snohomish County was steadily improving Friday as rain and shifting wind hit Western Washington, and more fresh air is on the way, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle.

Some areas, like Tulalip and Getchell, were already in the moderately healthy category Friday, according to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. As rain and wind continue, much of Western Washington should be in the moderate or good categories by Saturday. However, the air will continue to be potentially hazardous in most areas of the county until Saturday morning.

“A lot of the hope is that it’ll be this instantaneous shift. Unfortunately, it’s going to take a more gradual approach,” meteorologist Maddie Kristell said. “It’ll be a noticeable but gradual improvement on Saturday and into Sunday.”

A change to a northwesterly wind is slowly blowing the smoke away from Puget Sound. It was a southerly wind that brought the unhealthy air from wildfires in Oregon and California.

The improving air quality should continue into next week. But as long as wildfires are burning, the smoke could return, Kristell said.

Whether the region shifts back to a southerly wind is a simple twist of fate.

Friday’s forecast also included possible thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening, which won’t bring much relief from the smoke, just buckets of rain, Kristell said.

To monitor the air quality, visit www.pscleanair.gov.

Coronavirus testing resumes

Also on Friday, the Snohomish Health District reopened its drive-thru COVID testing sites, which closed due to the poor air quality.

Testing will continue Saturday and into next week at the health district’s Everett Memorial Stadium site at 3900 Broadway.

On Saturday, appointments are open from 9 a.m. to 2 pm. Testing will be offered Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Tuesday and Thursday, appointments will run from noon to 7 p.m.

In Lynnwood, testing will be available at the food bank, 5320 176th St. SW, on Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

To schedule an appointment, visit www.snohd.org/testing.

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; jthompson@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

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