This is not a drill: Seattle’s hazy smoke from B.C. wildfires could finally lift on Friday

Meteorologists expect winds from the south to start pushing the haze out of the Puget Sound region Thursday evening. By the weekend, the city’s air quality will show “drastic improvement,” according to the National Weather Service.

Soon gone but not forgotten: The hazy days of Seattle summer 2017.

The city’s air quality will show “drastic improvement” over the weekend, National Weather Service meteorologist Art Gaebel said.

Meteorologists expect the smoke, which blanketed the city more than a week ago because of wildfires in British Columbia, to start dissipating Thursday evening and continue petering out Friday as southern winds push over the Puget Sound region. Ocean winds and cooler temps could also bring relief to firefighting efforts in B.C., according to the province’s Wildfire Service spokesman, Kevin Skrepnek, who spoke to the Vancouver Sun.

Then, if Sunday’s forecast of rain showers comes true — ending a record-breaking streak without measurable rain — the air could clear completely in Seattle.

“As we get into the weekend, things should improve gradually,” Gaebel said. “Then, if the system comes through Sunday, if there’s anything still around, that should take care of it.”

Sunday’s forecast calls for a 50 percent chance of showers, as of Thursday morning.

The city last recorded rainfall was on June 17, meaning Wednesday marked the city’s 53rd consecutive day without rain, as recorded at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The previous record-breaking streak of 51 days was set in 1951.

Seattle’s air quality remains at unhealthy levels as of Thursday, according to the state’s Department of Ecology.

An “air quality alert,” warning vulnerable groups to take precautions, remains in effect for Western Washington until noon Friday.

“Expect the air quality to vary between good and unhealthy, depending on the wind direction and time of day,” the alert says. “Children, the elderly, and individuals with respiratory illnesses are most at risk of serious health effects. These groups should limit or avoid time outdoors.”

Check this interactive map to see how the city’s air compares to other places statewide.

Also, meteorologists expect Thursday to mark the 13th day above 80 degrees, reaching a high temperature of 83. The day’s all-time record high was set in 1981 with…

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