Weather with Cliff Mass

University of Washington Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and renowned Seattle weather prognosticator/personality Cliff Mass has joined KPLU’s roster of commentators.

"Weather with Cliff Mass", our new five-minute feature hosted by KPLU's environment reporter Bellamy Pailthorp, airs every Friday beginning at 9 a.m. immediately following "BirdNote", and will repeat twice on Friday afternoons during All Things Considered. It is also available as a podcast on kplu.org

Tim Durkan

If you ever have a question about the weather, KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass wants to hear it. We’ve assembled answers to a range of listener queries and will be answering them over the next two weeks. Here’s the first batch.

Puget Sound Energy

Winds that toppled trees and caused about 150,000 power outages around the Puget Sound region have subsided, but they made for some exciting weather Thursday night, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass. 

Joel Telling / Flickr

Replace your wool hat and gloves with your rain gear. We’re back to warm and wet weather, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

The rain will settle in Friday and temperatures will rise into the 50s, says Mass, setting the stage for the rest of the weekend.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Forget any hopes you may have had for skiing over the holiday weekend. But you might see some snow at sea level.

Pat Teglia / Flickr

The week before Thanksgiving is normally the wettest, stormiest part of the year in the Pacific Northwest. And true to form, the rains and wet clouds are back, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“If you look at the records going back decades, this is the week: ground zero for storms and wetness here in the Northwest. And it may not disappoint,” Mass said.

Tim Durkan

Keep your hats and scarves handy. The clear skies and cold temperatures we’ve been experiencing will continue through the middle of next week, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

Aaron Brethorst

Sick of the howling winds that swept through Thursday? KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass has good news: “We’re not going to see that the rest of the weekend, and early next week, just the opposite.”

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Trick-or-treaters can look forward to less-than-ghoulish weather for this evening's candy harvest. KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass said Friday's rainy Pacific front should clear off to the east by the time the ghosts and goblins hit the streets.

(Does anyone dress up as ghosts or goblins anymore? Perhaps I should say "Marvel heroes," or "Provocatively-dressed pop culture figures." -ed.)

"It may not be as scary tonight as some people feared," said Mass, Professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington. "Maybe there will be a few showers, but it will be mainly dry, so not too bad. And temperatures getting up into the upper 50s today [Friday]."

Tim Durkan

Enjoy the sunbreaks while you can.  Heavy rain returns Friday night and we’ll return to a wetter, windier pattern, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“It’ll be basically dry, partly cloudy during the afternoon, you know, probably even some sun,” Mass said of Friday. “So, a really nice day.”

But that’s going to change rapidly, Mass says, as a warm front associated with a center of low pressure off the coast moves northward.

Tim Durkan

This weekend will start off wet and cloudy, but the rain will give way to milder conditions, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

Mass says things will steadily improve over the weekend, with each day a bit better than the last.

Tim Durkan

Find yourself wondering about a certain weather pattern or phenomenon? Ask KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass. 

Every Friday, Mass chats with KPLU's environment reporter Bellamy Pailthorp about the weekend weather and the science behind it.

Spappy.joneS / Flickr

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include a link to Craig Welch's response. 

A warmer planet will certainly cause more intense rains in the Northwest and we should start getting ready for that now, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

Aaron Brethorst

Fall is in the air, and you’ll want to keep a raincoat handy, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

Mass says we can expect a big transition to deep autumnal clouds and rain early next week. But the weekend forecast is not as wet as predicted a few days ago, and Sunday should bring a break from the rain.

Aaron Brethorst

The weekend forecast is more complex than usual, thanks to something called a dirty ridge moving in, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

Sunny Friday Before Dirty Ridge Moves In

Friday will be a "very, very nice day" with sun and temperatures reaching the lower 70s, thanks to a ridge of high pressure in the skies above.

“A perfect fall day – well above normal," Mass said.

But he says on Saturday, something called a dirty ridge is expected to move in, bringing dueling weather regimes with it. A dirty ridge is an area of high pressure that’s not strong enough to push out all the clouds and rain. As a result, it will allow two weather regimes to settle in over the region.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

It may be tempting to attribute current weather trends like the record warmth and early rains on climate change caused by humans. 

But KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass says a newly-published paper should give us pause. It shows that the global warming of approximately 1 degree Celsius on the U.S. West Coast since 1900 appears more likely to be the result of natural variations than of human inputs of greenhouse gases.

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