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caption: Fog and pollution hover low over western Washington as the region was under a stagnant air advisory in late January 2022.
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Fog and pollution hover low over western Washington as the region was under a stagnant air advisory in late January 2022.
Credit: National Weather Service in Seattle

Smell that? Air stagnation advisory for western Washington

If you feel the air getting a little funky over the next few days, it’s most likely you. To be more accurate — it’s us.

Most of western Washington is under an air stagnation advisory until Wednesday. That means the airflow common to the region is on pause for now, leaving the air to sit around, closer to the ground.

All our pollution, burning, and other emissions we produce will just be hanging out until the next wind comes through to blow it away.

“We probably will see pollution start to build up,” said Meteorologist Mike McFarland with the National Weather Service in Seattle. “Mainly wood smoke from fireplaces. If you could fly up through the fog and low clouds, it would warm up right above that layer, that’s an inversion and that traps pollution and fog close to the ground.”

The National Weather Service is asking residents throughout the region to delay any outdoor burning until air conditions improve. The air stagnation advisory points out the Seattle-Bellevue-Tacoma area as being particularly affected. Also, Whatcom and Skagit Counties, and the Hood Canal area.

And while there are some concerns air quality could worsen over the next few days, both the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and the Department of Ecology said it was “good” for most of the region as of Monday morning.

Ecology’s website shows moderate air quality from Mount Vernon, down through Kirkland, and Shelton. Air quality is likely to be unhealthy for sensitive groups, however, especially around Cle Elum and Ellensburg.