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

Mike Kelley / Flickr

Weekend weather will be cloudy with showers off and on ... a pretty classic Northwest late winter forecast, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass of the University of Washington. Rain should arrive by dinner-time.

Watch for a bigger storm on Monday, particularly on the coast, where winds could hit 50 mph.

The clouds we've seen so far this week have been pretty interesting. Cloud watchers got a great show yesterday of "lenticular" clouds.

Mass says they look like stacks of plates -- and may have helped set off the UFO craze.

On his blog, KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass writes:

Sunday should be great....sunny, much warmer air...many will see the mid-50s.   A big ridge over us....   Plan to get outdoors!


In general, warmer temperatures are in store, beginning this evening, says Mass in his weekly weather conversation with KPLU. You can expect a little of everything on Saturday, before it clears out on Sunday.

Next week, Mass says it will be cooler and wet again, fitting with the La Nina pattern that's settled in place.

Shannon Kringen / Flickr

That's the forecast as of Friday morning, from KPLU and UW weather expert Cliff Mass.

"I don't know if you'll wake up to it, but Sunday morning into Sunday, during the day there will be some snow showers," says Mass.

Michael Cornelius / flickr

It's too wimpy to call it a storm, but wind and rain will dominate through tonight and tomorrow, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

The winds will be hard to miss along the Washington coast, getting up to 60 mph. But, as Mass explains, the coastal mountains tend to cut down those winds by the time they reach Puget Sound, leaving us with merely blustery conditions.

By Sunday, it should dry out, and skiers will find a lot of fresh snow waiting for them in the mountains. Next week appears to offer more mild temperatures with occasional rain showers.

Kevin Dooley / Flickr

You can call it light rain or "the good rain" (after local author Tim Egan), but either way, it’s the signature of the great Northwest. And it's here through much of the weekend.

That's the forecast from KPLU expert and UW professor Cliff Mass.


Today’s forecast calls for sunshine, says KPLU’s weather scientist Cliff Mass. And, as scientists are bound to do, he also notes some interesting details not as obvious as the sun in the sky.

“We may have a lot of sunshine but there are a lot of subtleties going on in the next few days that are worth talking about,” Mass said.

flickr/Oran Viriyincy

The weather is so normal, it's almost boring, at least to atmospheric scientists like the UW's Cliff Mass.

"Unfortunately, next week, we just have one minor system after the other coming through," says Mass. "No real severe weather. No big snowstorms or windstorms."

With the morning fog burning off Friday, Mass sees sunshine through this afternoon.

The Associated Press

The big melt continues all day and through the evening, as temperatures settle into the 40's.

KPLU and UW weather expert Cliff Mass says "it should feel quite warm" and generally stay above freezing for the next few days.

Given what's already on the ground – and with heavy rains tonight – it's a recipe for a mess.

Adam DeClercq / Flickr

But not too much. 

"It's not going to be the big snow-storm," says KPLU weather expert, and UW professor, Cliff Mass.

The areas most likely to get a couple inches of snow are the so-called "convergence zone," between north Seattle and Everett, and in the Bellingham area. For everyone else, Mass says it will be "hit and miss" depending on so many factors that it's hard to generalize.

Dave Morrow / Flickr

"No major storms, no major weather, as far as I can see."

That's weather expert Cliff Mass's summary for western Washington. Mild, perhaps a shower or two Friday night, and a chance of sun on Sunday.

*Psycho Delia* photo / Flickr

"It was like Palm Springs around much of the Northwest" recently, says KPLU's weather man, Cliff Mass. But that will be shifting soon. 

"Unfortunately, we're about to make a major shift into a much rainier pattern - a much more normal pattern."

Daveybot / flickr

A drought in December? It's been record dry this month, so far, says KPLU weather-meister Cliff Mass. In the meantime, we'll get a few showers, and possibly a glorious Saturday.

The off-shore pressure "ridge" is still there, keeping all the storms away from the Northwest. But, it's weakening, and the "inversion" -- which led to stagnant air, burn-bans, and so much fog -- appears to be breaking up.

Peter Brenda

If you had the time to take a hike today, or hit the ski slopes, you'd find it's maybe 20 or 30 degrees warmer when you climb above 3,000 feet, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

That's because the atmospheric inversion is extreme today, trapping cold air in the cities of Puget Sound-opolis, while the warm air is trapped above.

Mass says it won't last. A bit of rain will break up our unusual dry spell, starting late on Saturday. Then, on Tuesday, the inversion ends, as a storm starts to mix the air.

Associated Press

The weather we are experiencing today will continue for the next week, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass. And that means the high winds in California, parts of Utah and Nevada are likely to continue as well.

“We are going to see our weather dominated by high pressure right off shore in the Eastern Pacific – it’s going to prevent any weather system from getting in here,” Mass said. “So it should be dry for the next, at least, three to five days. No precipitation. No storms. No nothing.”

Alex Galkin / Flickr

It may be drying out this weekend and into next week ... but this past week brought some serious rain.