Memorial Day weekend will begin with sun, end with clouds

May 25, 2012

The forecast for today and tomorrow calls for sun and low to mid-70s temperatures, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass. But, the sun and clear skies will give way on Sunday and Monday to clouds and temperatures at least 10 degrees lower.

Basically, we’re still transitioning into the “June gloom.”

One way to escape the early spring clouds on the west side of the Cascades, as we all know, is to head east – but there is a drawback.

Wind.

Mass says high pressure on the west of the mountains will push air through the Kittitas Valley, causing the stretch from Cle Elum to Vantage to become a wind tunnel, with sustained winds of 20-30 mph and gusts that sometimes hit 50. 

Mass explains in his blog post, "Understanding Ellensburg's Wind":

“Air looks for the easiest path across the Cascades, and the Snoqualmie/Stampede Pass complex is the lowest route across (roughly 3000ft) north of the Columbia Gorge.  Cool, cloudy days with strong onshore flow are often associated with high pressure in the west – that can juice the pressure difference and the winds.”

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, a renowned Seattle weather prognosticator, and a popular weather blogger. You can also subscribe to a podcast of “Weather with Cliff Mass” shows.