There’s no snow in the Tri-City forecast, but the National Weather Service has issued a stagnant air advisory through Monday.
That means a high-pressure system parked over the region will cause freezing morning fog in the days to come. On the plus side, it offers the promise of more of the breathtaking hoarfrost that has laced local trees and structures.
But on the down side, the freezing fog will limit visibility to about a quarter-mile and create problems for drivers as well as slick spots on roadways. The fog should dissipate at midday.
The cold air settled at ground level is soaking up pollution, pushing local air quality into the unhealthy zone. The Washington Department of Ecology rates Tri-City air as unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as those with asthma, cardiovascular issues and the very young and very old.
Robin Bresley Priddy, executive director of the Benton Clean Air Agency, counsels people to be mindful of outdoor exertion. Her agency is requesting that residents avoid burning wood if they have other ways to heat their homes.
The weather service predicts continuing freezing temperatures through Monday. Highs will be in the teens and lower 20s, with overnight lows dipping into the single digits.
With temperatures remaining well below freezing, Tri-Citians are struggling to contend with the effects of prolonged cold.
The Tri-City Union Gospel Mission in Pasco reports it has accommodated 95 men in its 6,000-square-foot facility.
Byron Brooks, manager of the shelter for men, said Tri-Citians have been bringing in gloves, hats and heavy socks for homeless residents.
He said something like a spirit of camaraderie is helping keep the calm under such crowded conditions.
“The men understand the situation and have been very respectful of one another, and thus far have had no interpersonal problems to speak of,” he said.
Frozen pipes have plagued property owners as well. Olive Garden reported damage from frozen pipes, as did the Tri-City Herald, when pipes froze in an unoccupied warehouse.
The incidents are keeping plumbers busy, said Nick Bumpaous, political affairs director for Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 598 in Pasco.
“Our plumbing contractors are out in force doing everything they can,” he said.