Who farted?
  • Ben Gazy
  • Who farted?

A little before midnight last night, Slog reader Bonnie sent us this e-mail:

It's stinking up a storm in Wallingford tonight, and there's this constant suspicious fog outside that seems as though it might be connected to the smell. What gives?

A couple of hours before that, as I came home from dinner at a friend's house, I also noticed a foul smell in the fog, but I assumed it was a neighbor's stinky garbage.

But Bonnie was smelling it over in Wallingford.

It didn't stink like a tide flat—it was more zesty, like sewage or something so rotten it's starting to ferment—but just to be sure I checked the tidal charts. Nothing remarkable there.

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency listed our air quality as good, but folks on Reddit reported foul smells from Northgate to Ballard to Lake City.

So I asked local celebrity meteorologist Cliff Mass.

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"We now have a very strong inversion over the city, which is capping a thin layer of cold, foggy air," Mass wrote in an e-mail. "Inversions act as atmospheric lids. Winds are very weak. Between the inversion and weak winds, there is very little mixing, so pollutants (and smells) are trapped. So I suspect you are smelling your neighbors' garbage and others are smelling some of the sewer smells that normally are mixed out."

Bonnie's hunch was right—the heavy fog and the heavy stink were linked.

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