Weather with Cliff Mass

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Yes, this morning's brief showers showed that in fact our fabulous summer is at an end (but there will be more sunny days to come), says KPLU's weather expert Cliff Mass.

Mass added that forecasters were blindsided by this morning's rain across the region, but they are back on track with predictions of a front moving in this afternoon. That front too will bring some rain, but the clouds will burn off probably by Saturday evening and Sunday will be sunny.

Greg Johnson / Skunk Bay Weather Blog

Greg Johnson, a Puget Sound weather aficionado, was recently called out by KPLU’s own weather expert Cliff Mass for a unique video that shows the development of superior mirages during the day. And, with our string of sunny days, there has been plenty of opportunity to see the mirages this summer.

He seems like your ordinary scientist, but KPLU weather expert and University of Washington professor of Atmospheric Sciences Cliff Mass has been moonlighting. He can be found in courtrooms, as a favorite expert when the weather may determine guilt or innocence.

For the complete story, click the "listen" button above.

Nevermind the predictable weather for this weekend (cloudy mornings, sunshine breaking through, temps in the 70's) -- KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass wants to talk about a strange phenomenon along the Washington coast.

The water temperatures on any of our coastal beaches -- along the Olympic coast, at Ocean Shores, Westport or Long Beach -- is typically in the 40s or low 50s, says Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Washington.

That's cold.

A rain shower Sunday night dropped the first measurable moisture since July 23 at Sea-Tac Airport. That ended the dry stretch at 48 days, the second-longest on record. 

The record is 51 days set in the summer of 1951 at Sea-Tac.

"This is like losing a high-scoring basketball or football game by only 1 point....really frustrating!  There is a significant chance this will be the only rain Sea-Tac gets out of the frontal passage," KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass wrote in his blog.

Jake Ellison / KPLU

The record for consecutive days without rain at Seatac is 51 days, set in 1951. To break that record, we'd need to see no rain through Tuesday.

"I think we are probably going to get to 49, but I don't think we'll get to 50 or 51," says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington. "It's tragic. But we're going to be happy with the second longest streak of dry weather in Seattle history."

Jake Ellison / KPLU

Hard to know what to root for – a record dry spell or the return of rain.

Our weather expert and University of Washington professor Cliff Mass says the race is on, and it’ll be close.

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Western Washington is wrapping up its driest August ever, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

And, with no precipitation in sight for the next two weeks, Mass says we may even break an all-time streak for the most consecutive days without rain. The record is 51 days, set in 1951.

"We are thirty-eight days in, right now," he says. "So, we certainly have a shot at the big record."

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Enjoy a beautiful weekend, says KPLU weather expert and UW professor Cliff Mass.

But we've entered a late-summer pattern that should start bringing occasional showers, starting early next week. That brings an end to an annual dry period that makes the northwest drier than the deserts of Arizona, says Mass. It's been four weeks without measurable rain in western Washington.

Today’s going to be hot again, but it's already cooler than expected this morning, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“We had some marine air that pushed up the coast, clouds have inundated the coastal areas. So if you're on the coast it's going to be cooler," he says. "And here in the interior we're starting cooler: five to ten degrees in some places. But the trouble is this cool marine air is very thin."

He says that cool marine layer will burn off fast, yielding to hot temps aloft. So today he expects highs of high 80s to 90 closer to the coast. And away from the water, perhaps the low 90s.

"So one more warm day. Then tomorrow a step down. Today's the hottest day."

There's a chance of thunderstorms Saturday afternoon, which could have a big impact on the wildfires in Cle Elum and Thorp. The danger is the chance of lighting without rain.

Evan Hoover / KPLU

In the Seattle region, where we have few air conditioners, a string of 90-plus days can raise alarms:

But with the rest of the country melting under temperatures of 100 degrees or more for days in a row and drought striking the Midwest, we wonder if perhaps we in the Northwest are heat wimps.

The Associated Press

Today’s going to be a great summer day, especially as some low clouds burn off later – but that’s not the best part of the forecast, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“Today is the worst day of the weekend, believe it or not. And temperatures are going to get up into the mid- to upper-70s even near 80 in a couple places. So, it’s just an absolute wonderful day. But it’s going to get even better,” he says.

The skies will stay clear and temperatures will warm as we get into the weekend, with many places away from the water seeing 80-plus degrees. 

Amber Vaesca / KPLU

Sometimes, like this weekend ... a miracle happens, reports our weather expert and University of Washington professor Cliff Mass. 

That miracle may bring the hottest day of the year this weekend.

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Don't let yesterday's warmer temps fake you out, says KPLU's weather expert Cliff Mass. Fact is, we're stuck in a pattern of cloudy mornings and cool days deep into next week with possibly some rain arriving on Thursday.

The cause? "We have this persistent troughing along the West Coast, and associated with that is ridging over the middle of the country, " Mass said. "So, they’re getting this enhanced drought, and we’re getting the enhanced low clouds. We’re colder than normal, they're warmer than normal."

ryanobjc / Flickr

"This is the summer of thunderstorms," says Cliff Mass, KPLU weather expert and meteorologist at the University of Washington.

An unusual pattern of low pressure keeps recurring over the western U.S., bringing the rain and lightning. Temperatures are about ten degrees below normal for this part of July--which is typically the sunniest part of the year in the Puget Sound area.

East of the mountains, there have been two flash floods, as of this morning.

Greg Johnson / www.skunkbayweather.com

If you were in the mountains or northern Puget Sound last night, you may have seen some spectacular lightning bolts and thunderstorms. Those are rare in the northwest, compared with the midwest. But KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass says the right conditions are here now, and will be with us through Saturday.

Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Washington, explains why, in this week's interview.

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The forecast is for plenty of sun for today and days to come.

As KPLU forecaster and University of Washington professor Cliff Mass put it in his blog: It happens almost every year, and we sometimes lose faith that it will occur.

"Often, as in this year, it happens right after July 4th, and almost certainly by mid-July, resulting in the oft-noted statement by the meteorological cognoscenti that summer starts on July 12th in western Washington."

And there's not much we can do about it, says Cliff Mass, KPLU weather expert and professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the UW.

Mass says look at the radar and make some plans.

There's a reason ... It's been a cold June.

Minnae / Flickr

You can watch out not only for rain showers, but perhaps even some thunder showers on Friday, says Cliff Mass, the KPLU weather expert and professor of Atmospheric Sciences at UW.

If you're planning ahead, he says in this week's podcast, Friday afternoon will get the worst of it, with Saturday slightly less, and Sunday tapering off more and warming up a few degrees.

And, if you're wondering, When will the water at our beaches be warm enough to get in?... Mass has some bad news. The early part of summer is when winds conspire to create "upwelling" along much of the Pacific coast, and that makes the water get colder.

rishibando / Flickr

Just one day of glory is all we get, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass. The clouds roll in tonight, at least around most of western Washington, followed by periods of rain tomorrow.

The sun will still be shining over Portland on Saturday, and east of the Cascades, says Mass, a UW professor of Atmospheric Sciences.

The changes are all typical of June, he says, and by the middle of next week, we'll likely flip back to a few days of sunshine.

This week's interview also covers how to "read" the clouds and tell if rain is on the way.

 

Cliff Mass

The forecast is calling for a few rain showers to move through the Puget Sound region, no surprise there. But with the strong sun heating the ground and with the clouds aloft, we could also get a weak thunderstorm or two, said KPLU’s weather expert Cliff Mass.

Then, it’s better weather through the weekend. By Sunday, we’ll see the end of showers, though there will still be some clouds aloft and temperatures in the mid-60s. Monday is the best of the set with temperatures reaching into the 70s.

Often, Mass advises sun-seekers to head east across the mountains, but in this week's conversation he offered another option. He said the coast would be a great place for some sun and seeing the transit of Venus.

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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.

The Associated Press

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.”

Digital Sextant / flickr

You can blame a ridge of pressure over the Pacific for pushing a layer of cool, cloudy marine air over western Washington, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

Sam Reed / Flickr

The rumors of imminent warmth are confirmed, by KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

"The whole weekend is going to be extraordinary," says Mass, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Washington.

Today, KPLU's weather expert Cliff Mass and science reporter Keith Seinfeld touch on the forecast – cloudy through most of Saturday, then getting better through Monday – and then take up a common thread throughout NW weather history: grousing.

Here's a weather report from 1855 published in the Puget Sound Courier:

"Well, March went out, April came in, and with it, cold, wet, disagreeable weather, and a universal spirit of discontent, and a disposition to 'growl'"

"Throughout the entire month, and even up to this, the last day of May, it has been precisely the same, and some amongst us profess to be so thoroughly disgusted with the weather .... that they threaten to leave the Territory altogether."

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Yet another weekend that beats the work-week, when it comes to sunshine--that's the forecast from KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, of the University of Washington.

But, it won't exactly be warm and sunny.

Chris Tarnawski / Flickr

April showers will dry out today, and by Saturday, most of western Washington should see sunshine. But, we're not so sure about Sunday.

If you've been enjoying sunshine and how the light plays off the blossoms or the water -- there's more in store this weekend. But, it's not "normal," says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

"It's been drier than normal this month. From April first until now, we are over an inch below normal, in terms of rainfall. We have been warmer than normal this past week," he says.

That continues through Sunday, with temperatures reaching the lower to mid-60s.

Carlye Calvin / UCAR

A few scattered showers on Friday--and some puffy cumulus clouds--will dry out for Saturday.

"It should be a glorious day. And interestingly enough it should be warmer in western Washington than eastern Washington, which is not the normal situation this time of year," says KPLU weather expert and UW professor Cliff Mass.

The sunshine should stick around Sunday, but there's a bit of a debate among meteorologists over what happens Sunday evening and next week.

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