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

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.

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.

sea_trtle / Flickr

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.

lrargerich/Flickr

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.

If the clouds and showers seem dreary, fear not: warm and sunny days lie ahead, says weather expert Cliff Mass.

Friday will start off with more of the same: “A lot of low clouds, but those will be burning off by mid-day,” says Mass, professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

By Friday afternoon, temperatures will near 70, says Mass.

“But unfortunately, a weak weather system is approaching us,” says Mass, adding the system will likely arrive Saturday afternoon.

Rain showers will be coming and going this weekend. That's the big picture, but Cliff Mass, professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington, says the weekend won’t be a total washout.

“Memorial Day weekend is generally not the best,” he says. “We have a really nice period sometime in the early to mid-May most years, and we’ve had it.”

Now, Mass says, we’re starting to see the infamous “June gloom syndrome,” which he says involves “a lot of low clouds and sprinkles.”

If you liked the light rain falling this morning, you'll get a bit more on Saturday, and possibly Sunday morning, says Cliff Mass, professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

On the other hand, if you're looking for some good outdoor times, Mass says we should dry out Sunday afternoon.

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