Weather with Cliff Mass

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Good news: summer's not over just yet! There are still some blue skies left in the forecast, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass. 

"About two and a half days, to be exact," says Mass, who teaches Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

Jonathan Cooper

The worst is over is now, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“The heaviest rain, and certainly the lightning is over for the time being,” said Mass, professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

And the good news, says Mass, is that things will get better—eventually.

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Even on days with a clear blue sky, the skies aren’t completely empty. We’re all used to seeing those great white streaks across the sky behind airplanes.

Cliff Mass says he gets a fair number of questions about these contrails, many from conspiracy-minded people who believe they are part of a nefarious government plot.

Hang in there—the feel of Seattle's great summers is coming back this weekend.  

The autumn-like weather we’ve been having this week will yield to more typical summer fare, with blue skies in the afternoons and temperatures in the 70s, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

Gary Batie

Did you see them?

A line of unusual triangular-shaped clouds resembling prayer flags draped over us earlier this week.

“We call these mare's tails or fall streaks in the business,” says Cliff Mass, KPLU weather expert and professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

The clouds were the work of Mother Nature, but with a little help from mankind.

Half Man Half Ape / Flickr

Cliff Mass has a soft spot for the smell of rain, more specifically rain showering down on hot concrete after a long dry spell.

“This is something I’ve noticed for years,” said Mass, KPLU weather expert and professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington. “After a dry period, you have the first rain and there’s this smell. I kind of like the smell myself.”

The technical name for the smell is “petrichor,” which Mass describes as “sweet, musty.”

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Today we’ll get plenty of sun and temps in the upper 70s to lower 80s, but clouds and precipitation are moving in for the weekend, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“An upper-level low is approaching us from the Southwest right now,” said Mass, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington. The clouds and rain that are already in Oregon are going to move northward.

The Seattle metro area recently topped the list of 50 most “chill cities” in the U.S., and KPLU weather commentator Cliff Mass says he’s not surprised.

“We do have the best weather in the whole United States by almost any measure,” he says.

There are several reasons for this excellent weather, says Mass, and we can thank the Pacific Ocean for all of them.

While the East Coast melts with high temperatures and sweltering humidity, Seattleites get to enjoy "day after day of perfect weather," says Cliff Mass, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington. 

For the coming week, we'll see more of the same—low clouds in the morning that then burn off as the sun gets stronger with highs in the upper 70s and low 80s. 

You've already seen the pattern—cloudy mornings, burning off later in the day, with highs in the lower 70s. That's the forecast for the week ahead, says Cliff Mass, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

Associated Press

Weather plays a central role in most wildland fires, and we got a grim reminder of that earlier this week with the Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona that took the lives of 19 firefighters. KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass dug into the meteorological data surrounding that fire and came away disturbed. He says the conditions that caused that fire to blow up and reverse course, right on top of the firefighters, were quite predictable.

Expect progressively warmer weather over the weekend and through Tuesday, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, says the heat wave hitting the western U.S. is heading our way. He expects highs around 90 on Monday and Tuesday from Seattle to Bellingham, and temperatures in the lower 90s in the south Sound.

It may be summer solstice, but summer isn’t quite here yet, says Cliff Mass, professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington and KPLU's weather expert.

The reason, says Mass: “Summer solstice … is astronomical summer. It is not necessarily meteorological summer,” said Mass.”

“And in the profession, we all joke—and it’s not much of a joke—that summer starts here in Seattle on July 12. And in fact, there’s a lot of truth to that,” he said.

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Expect the clouds to burn off later today, but you'll have to wait until Saturday for the really nice weather, says Cliff Mass, professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington and KPLU's weekly weather expert.

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Don't expect to see much sunshine on Friday, as clouds and a weak front move through western Washington. In fact, brief episodes of drizzle are possible.

But, the sun could peak through at the end of the day, says Cliff Mass, professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington. And that reflects a typical June pattern, he says.

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