An eery pink sun hovered over the Lower Mainland on Monday. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Times)

Blue skies at last on B.C.’s south coast

Wildfire smoke expected to clear out, temperatures should drop under 20 C by the weekend

People on B.C.’s south coast who’ve been hiding in air-conditioned buildings could see a blue sky as soon as Thursday.

According to Environment Canada meteorologist Lisa Erven, the wildfire smoke from the interior is expected to vacate by the weekend.

“In the next 24 hours, we’re going to see a wind reversal,” Erven said. “But it will take 24-48 hours to really clear out. Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland have been fairly saturated.”

McNeill Bay today with heavy smoke due to ongoing wildfires around B.C. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News))

An air quality advisory has been in place for the Lower Mainland since Aug. 13 because of fine particulate matter expelled by wildfires around the Pacific Northwest.

Erven said a trifecta of westerly winds, a high-pressure ridge and an abundance of wildfire smoke culminated in record-poor air quality for the region.

“There’s a ridge of high pressure providing a lid on the atmosphere,” she said, particularly in the Fraser Valley.

Different parts of the south coast have seen vastly different conditions, with places like Chilliwack beginning to resemble a post-apocalyptic world, while parts of Vancouver have seen some blue sky.

A blue sky in Vancouver, compared to smoky skies in Chilliwack. (Black Press Media)

“That’s again to do with location of wildfires and local winds. Wildfire smoke concentrations naturally carry wildly over short distances,” Erven said.

“A subtle change of the wind direction improves air quality locally and it can be quite different in North Vancouver, Tsawwassen and Abbotsford.”

By Thursday morning, the high-pressure ridge is set to break down as a cool front sweeps in, with highs of just 19 C until Sunday.

The Lower Mainland hasn’t seen such smoke since 2015, Erven said, when wildfires near Pemberton sent up thick clouds.

“Whistler’s air quality was very very poor through that time period,” she said. “But it’s not uncommon to get outflow conditions” that bring in wildfire smoke.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

No links between rural fires in Pitt Meadows, says chief

Squatters considered possible cause of Sunday’s blaze on Harris Road

Risk of ‘deadly avalanches’ leads to warning for B.C.’s south coast

Weak layer of snow on Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland could trigger an avalanche

From a drunk judge to Clifford Olson: George Garrett recounts a life in B.C. news radio

New book from ‘Intrepid Reporter’ George Garrett offers readers a glimpse behind the headlines

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

Man wanted for sex trafficking, confinement may be heading to B.C.

Kevin Myrthil, 26, is also accused of assault on a 19-year-old woman at an Edmonton hotel

VIDEO: ‘Heroes’ rescue teen trapped in car in Fraser Valley ditch

Two men sprang into action, holding 17-year-old’s head out of water as they pried open door

B.C. Speaker Darryl Plecas resumes battle with suspended staff

Committee meets at B.C. legislature to consider new allegations

Northern B.C. train derailment due to broken axle could happen again: TSB

CN coal train derailment caused by broken axle can happen again without a different way to inspect

Most Read