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Fox News Weather Center

Autumnlike air, late-week showers to reduce wildfire threat across northwestern US

Increased clouds and showers will send temperatures on a downward spiral across the northwestern United States later this week. Though bad news for warm weather lovers, the pattern change will be a boon for wildfire fighters.

Showers will begin to spread over coastal Washington and Oregon on Thursday, with multiple rounds of wet weather in store thereafter. The weekend is setting up to be quite dreary for many across the region as wet weather will continue to press inland.

Several slow-moving storms will set the stage for the unsettled pattern, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rathbun.

The wet weather will keep the air quite cool for this time of year.

"It will feel more like early October than early July," Rathbun explained.

On the coolest days, highs could dip 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit below normal across portions of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

The first wave of cooler air is expected to arrive in Seattle and Portland, Oregon, on Thursday and Friday respectively. Areas farther inland will have to wait until the weekend for the brunt of the cooling to settle in.

The wet and cool conditions, while being a nuisance to area residents hoping for more summerlike weather, will help lower the risk of wildfires across the region.

Several wildfires are currently blazing in Montana, Idaho and Oregon, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Multiple days of wet weather will help crews contain current fires and limit the development of any new blazes. Soil moisture that has been depleted by a recent dry stretch will be replenished, helping to invigorate any dry vegetation.

The impending unsettled pattern is unusual for this time of year.

"Storms of this magnitude are quite rare for the Pacific Northwest in July, which is the driest month of the year across the region," Rathbun said.

"Places such as Seattle and Portland could receive more than half of their monthly rainfall total by the weekend," he added.

The unusually cool and wet pattern will likely continue into the first part of next week.