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Rain is on Seattle's horizon 'just in the nick of time'

We've got a shot this week at ending western Washington's current dry spell.

As of Monday, it's been 49 days since Seattle's last measurable rainfall; that was on June 14. But Meteorologist Maddie Kristell at the National Weather Service of Seattle says there may be some good news ahead.

"Thank goodness. Almost just in the nick of time, we've got another system kind of working its way into the area by Thursday, into Friday actually," she says. "And that'll be probably the best chance of measurable rain since early June."

The longest we've gone with no measurable rain at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was 55 days. That record was set back in 2017. Kristell says we'll just miss that record when, or if, the rain arrives this week.

Unfortunately, the system isn't expected to stick around for long or be quite as substantial like the showers we see in the fall or early spring. But Kristell says by summer standards, it's not too shabby. The NWS is expecting anywhere from a tenth to a quarter of an inch.

Meanwhile, forecasters are keeping an eye on air quality in the Seattle area, and across the state, as wildfire smoke hovers over the region. It's mainly coming from fires in Oregon and California.

Fire crews battling the Cub Creek 2 fire near Winthrop in Washington's Okanogan County are hoping they'll be able to get more firefighting planes in the sky soon.

The smoke's been so thick lately that it's hampered their air-assault on the flames, which have now scorched nearly 59,000 acres. The fire is only 23% contained.

And the Cedar Creek Fire — also near Winthrop — grew over the weekend despite cooler temperatures and a little bit of rain.

That fire is forcing immediate evacuations for some neighbors in the Twisp River Valley area and stretches nearly 49,000 acres; it's only 23% contained.

Smoke from those surrounding wildfires drifted into western Washington, making for a hazy weekend.

Luckily, the smoke is mostly hanging out in the upper atmosphere, so it's not really affecting the actual air quality. Right now, the air is rated "good" in the Puget Sound region.

And Kristell at the National Weather Service of Seattle says it's likely to stay that way.

"I know a lot of people maybe have the image in their minds of, you know, what happened last September with it being so concentrated at the surface," she says. "But everything should be fairly clear based on those surface ratings."

Other areas aren't so lucky, though.

The state Department of Ecology has deemed conditions in Okanogan County "hazardous" where the Cedar Creek and Cub Creek 2 fires are burning.

It's also anywhere from "unhealthy" to "very unhealthy" in places like Yakima and Spokane.