The hazy days of summer are over now that as much as a half-inch of rain could fall in South Sound through Wednesday. It’s the most rain to fall in the area since May — a reminder of just how dry this summer has been.
Not only should the rainfall scrub the atmosphere down pretty good, said Art Gaebel of the National Weather Service, but it also should help to fight fires in central Washington.
“Every little bit helps,” he said.
Two fires — the Norse Peak Fire near Crystal Mountain and the Jolly Mountain Fire near Cle Elum — contributed to poor air quality in Western Washington, including as recently as Saturday, when residents once again awoke to the smell of burning wood.
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But one rain-filled weather system began moving through Western Washington on Sunday and another one is expected to arrive Tuesday.
“Shorter days, longer nights, cooler temperatures, and higher relative humidity have all contributed to the quieting of the fires’ progress,” according to the Norse Peak Fire Information Facebook page.
Rain will help in Kittitas County, too. That’s where the Jolly Mountain Fire has consumed more than 36,000 acres, but is 40 percent contained, said Brian Lawatch, who is part of a National Incident Management Team.
“The fire spread overall has been halted when it comes to infrastructure and communities,” Lawatch said.
Rain will help limit the fire’s growth and raise the relative humidity, he said. That should produce smoldering pockets of fire, but the rainfall needs to be much heavier to extinguish the blaze.
“We need that season-ending precipitation event for it to go completely out,” Lawatch said.
As for South Sound, rain showers are expected through Wednesday, followed by a chance of showers Wednesday night and Thursday, National Weather Service data show.
Daytime temperatures will be in the 60s, with overnight temperatures in the upper 40s.