Weather with Cliff Mass

Tim Durkan

The thunderstorms that hit our region a couple of days ago are a classic sign of spring in the Northwest. And the temps we’ve been experiencing lately are entirely normal for this time of year, says KPLU weather expert, Cliff Mass. 

So if you’ve been shivering and wishing for the balmy temps that made Monday seem like summer, Mass says you might as well get used to it for a while. We’re in for a cloudy, unsettled weekend, with “plenty of clouds around," according to Mass.

Stephanie Sinclair

Spring is officially here.

The vernal equinox means that days and nights are of equal length. From here on out, the days will get longer. It’s also a great season for cloudgazing, which KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass knows a lot about.

This weekend will bring plenty of opportunities for admiring all kinds of clouds.

“Clouds like altostratus and altocumulus that will be thickening in,” Mass said. “Another cloud that’s very popular around here we’ll see tomorrow morning: the stratocumulus – low clouds that have these heaps and clear skies in between.”

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Get your tee shirts and shorts out. You'll need them as we head into the weekend. 

That’s the word from KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, who says the warm air above us is “warm enough that if it was completely sunny today, many people would experience temperatures getting into the lower 70s.”

Possibility Of Record-Breaking Temps Friday

The big question, Mass said, is how much the clouds will thicken up on Friday around the Puget Sound region.

If they’re thick, Mass says temperatures will hit 66 or 67 degrees, which is way warmer than normal.

Tim Durkan

If rainy weather makes you blue, don’t worry. The sun will come out on Saturday, and the weekend will bring us back to the pattern of sunshine. 

KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass sounded a bit surprised to see rain coming down on Friday, amid one of the sunniest winters we’ve experienced in a long time.

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Friday’s clouds and sprinkles are moving out, and sunshine and more warmth are coming in this weekend.

And you can expect the pattern of unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having in western Washington to intensify over the next week, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

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Mother Nature is serving up sunny skies and amazingly warm temperatures for the long Valentine’s Day weekend.

KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass says conditions will be “perfect for conditions hikers, bikers and gardeners; let’s not mention skiers." 

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Keep your rain gear handy.

The record rain that hit Seattle and drenched the Olympic Mountains Thursday will keep pounding the region for most of the weekend, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

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Dense fog blanketed much of the region Friday morning, but it burned off quickly, though morning fog is in the forecast again Saturday.

“Strangely enough, that’s a good sign,” said KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

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Western Washington has been warmer than normal lately. People were shedding layers as the mercury hit temperatures in the 50s this week.

KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass says that pattern will continue and intensify this weekend, especially on Sunday. Records will be broken.

Ted S. Warrena / AP Photo

KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass says his email inbox has been full of questions about when the snow will return to western Washington, especially in the mountains and ski areas.

“In fact, things are not great right now,” Mass said. And extended forecasts indicate it’s unlikely to improve much this year.

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The mild winter weather will continue through the weekend, and a burst of rain expected Saturday should die down in time for the Seahawks game, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

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The fog will likely stick around for a few more days, thanks to “a huge inversion,” an upside-down pattern of air temperatures that trap morning fog, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

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The dry, cold weather and clear blue skies that ushered in the new year with spectacular mountain views around Seattle is coming to an end. The clouds have moved in and you’ll need some rain gear by Sunday at the latest, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

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Engaging with his audience is something KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass very much enjoys.

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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. 

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Fall came in with a vengeance this week. An early atmospheric river dumped huge amounts of rain into the Northwest over the last few days, but it’s tapering off just in time for the weekend, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“It actually looks like a decent weekend,” Mass said. 

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Don’t put away that sunscreen just yet.

Temperatures are expected to shoot back up into the upper 70s and even 80s for the last weekend of summer, topping off what will likely go down as the warmest summer in Seattle history.