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

dorena-wm photo / Flickr via compfight

The first frost of the season hit the northwest Friday morning on both sides of the mountains, but skies will be sunny for much of the weekend.

Enjoy it while it lasts, since it will turn rainy again on Monday, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

Jonathan Cooper

Cliff Mass says his jaw dropped when he looked at the satellite image of an approaching system.

That wet front due to arrive on Saturday is “so extensive, so wide, and so intense” for a September storm, says Mass, KPLU weather expert and professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

Michael @ NW Lens / Flickr via compfight

Right on cue, typical fall rains will usher in the official start of autumn with the equinox on Sunday.

But first we get to enjoy some milder weather for the final days of summer, predicts KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“We’re gonna get some rain, but first we’re going to have a decent day today,” said Mass, a Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington. He says there’s a front right offshore, visible on the coastal radar. But it’s going to be coming in slowly.

Mark Grealish photo / Flickr

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.

Jeff Abel Photography

“It was one of the most extraordinary displays of lightning that I can remember," said KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass. "There were tens of thousands, not thousands ... of lightning strike yesterday over the region. Just startling."

What caused the atypical show? Not the usual culprit, says Mass, professor of 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.

Matthew Rutledge / Flickr

Labor Day marks summer’s unofficial finale, and KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass says the warm weather with make a curtain call this weekend, though the beach-and-barbecue weather will be a memory by Monday.

"Today is the transitional day,” says Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

art_es_anna / Flickr

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.

Tim Durkan

Autumn is creeping up on the northwest, but KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass says we’ll keep one foot–or at least a few toes–in summertime over the coming week.

Rain was falling early Friday offshore and over parts of eastern Washington, with western Washington nestled in the dry spot in between. Mass says variable clouds and cooler weather Friday will give way to some real overcast skies at the weekend’s start.

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.”

Nomadic Lass / Flickr via Compfight

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.

Washington State Department of Natural Resources / Flickr

Drizzly skies are expected to yield to warmer temperatures and some sun this weekend, because of an upper level trough over us and that’s causing upward motion and clouds, says Cliff Mass, KPLU’s weather expert.

Soak up that sun while you still can. 

The spell of higher-than-normal temperatures and warm, dry weather is coming to an end, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

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