Wind damage has driven down Washington’s apple crop estimate while smoky Northwest skies have delayed harvest, industry officials said.

Weather conditions have cut the expected apple volume, first estimated at 134 million 40-pound boxes in early August, by 5 percent to 10 percent, the Washington Apple Commission said in a news release Sept. 15.

Tree fruit crop estimates routinely fluctuate as the harvest season progresses anyway. This year, a severe windstorm over Labor Day weekend knocked apples off their branches and damaged trellis systems, while wind-fueled wildfires throughout the Pacific Northwest have delayed harvest in some areas.

Washington produces about 65 percent of the nation’s fresh apples.

—by Ross Courtney