Why is June the month of clouds?
When Cliff Mass talks about "June Gloom," it's about the clouds more than rain. June doesn't get all that much measurable precipitation, but the clouds lock in place, and sunshine can be rare.
And, in case you're feeling gloomy with today's clouds and rain, Mass says this month should be nothing like last year, when we had one of the colder Junes ever. This spring "is working out to be pretty close to normal. This is really the typical spring you should expect if you live here," says the UW atmospheric sciences professor and KPLU weather expert.
The cause of all this is a high pressure zone that forms off the Pacific coast. In June, it pushes cooler, cloudy marine air over western Washington. But by mid-July, that high pressure gives us the driest conditions in the whole country, he says.
In today's conversation, Mass also explains:
- Why it tends to rain a bit more in the early morning
- Why raindrops are not shaped like the classic teardrop, and often look like a pancake
- Why we have low humidity in summer, despite being known for so much moisture
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, a renowned Seattle weather prognosticator, and a popular weather blogger. You can also subscribe to a podcast of “Weather with Cliff Mass” shows.