Weather with Cliff Mass
9:29 am
Fri April 6, 2012

April showers are giving way this weekend (as we remember the great Vancouver tornado)

A few scattered showers on Friday--and some puffy cumulus clouds--will dry out for Saturday.

"It should be a glorious day. And interestingly enough it should be warmer in western Washington than eastern Washington, which is not the normal situation this time of year," says KPLU weather expert and UW professor Cliff Mass.

The sunshine should stick around Sunday, but there's a bit of a debate among meteorologists over what happens Sunday evening and next week.

As Mass explains, a computer model run the the European Center for Medium-Range Forecasting suggests we may get sunshine through most of next week. An American computer model says showers should return by Monday.

Which one is right? Mass says the Europeans currently have the best models, and he'd bet on that one.

This week also marks the 40th anniversary of the Vancouver tornado-- the biggest ever to hit western Washington. It was an "F3" tornado that killed six people, destroyed a school and did a lot of other damage.

"We generally get a few tornadoes each year, believe it or not. And these tornadoes tend to be pretty weak," says Mass, noting there was a funnel cloud near Yelm on Thursday.

Tornadoes are rare in Washington because we don't have the ingredients for big thunderstorms, which are essential for tornadoes, he says. You need a big temperature difference between the ground and the upper atmosphere, and our moderating ocean breezes prevent that from happening much.

Do you have a weather question? Cliff Mass and Keith Seinfeld occasionally answer reader questions on the air. Share yours here.

The weekly KPLU feature "Weather with Cliff Mass" airs every Friday at 9 a.m. immediately following BirdNote, and repeats twice on Friday afternoons during All Things Considered. The feature is hosted by KPLU’s Science and Health reporter Keith Seinfeld. Cliff Mass is a University of Washington Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and renowned Seattle weather prognosticator. You can also subscribe to a podcast of this and previous "Weather with Cliff Mass" shows.