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

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."

jakobnewman / Flickr

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.

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."

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"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.

Cliff Mass / KPLU

The smoky skies over Seattle are likely from Asia and not Western fires, says Cliff Mass, KPLU weather forecaster and University of Washington professor.

In his blog post on the smoke, he said the air over us can be traced back to Asia at low levels.

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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.

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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.

 

Steve-h / Flickr

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.

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