Mass: Chances Of Snow This Weekend, But Don't Bet The House On It

Feb 21, 2014

The weekend forecast includes chances of snow, but nothing's for certain, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

"This is a hard one," said Mass. “There’s a lot of uncertainty here. I’ll tell you that right in the beginning.”

Chances of Snow

Here’s how things look so far. Come Saturday, “we will have air that’s cold enough for snow,” said Mass, who teaches atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

Add to that an approaching system, he said, and “Seattle might see some wet snow initially over the higher hills, but precipitation will turn to rain during the afternoon. Better chance of light snow from Lynnwood northward."

The precipitation, which will start late morning, could add up to a few inches, Mass said.

Late Sunday, conditions may be ripe again for snow. And much of the region may see light snow or rain, depending on the temperature.

"My gut feeling is that Sunday night/Monday morning will whiten up the Seattle area, but we will see," he said.

Forecast Model Includes ‘Amazing Amount Of Uncertainty’

Snow is almost a certainty for Bellingham this weekend, says Mass, but the same isn’t true for other parts of western Washington. The problem with this forecast is that it relies on a number of sensitive variables.

"We are right on the edge, and small differences in the model solution will make all the difference in rain versus snow," he said. 

So the main message, says Mass, is that it’s possible for us to get some snow this weekend.

"There's times when there is an amazing amount of uncertainty, and this is one of those,” Mass said.

Bottom line: Be ready for possible snow and ice Saturday and Sunday. Pack your patience if you have to go somewhere, and bring your chains if you're headed for the mountains.

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Cliff Mass will attend the Northwest Weather Workshop next weekend. The agenda offers a wide-ranging collection of weather- and climate-related talks, and can be viewed online.

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The weekly KPLU feature "Weather with Cliff Mass" airs every Friday at 9 a.m. immediately following BirdNote, and twice on Friday afternoons during All Things Considered. The feature is hosted by KPLU Environment Reporter Bellamy Pailthorp. Cliff Mass is a University of Washington Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, a renowned Seattle weather prognosticator, and a popular weather blogger. You can also subscribe to a podcast of “Weather with Cliff Mass” shows.