Clear skies and cold temps have been dominating the weather in Washington lately, and that pattern is expected to continue for the next couple of days.
“They go together; that’s the bargain, the meteorological deal,” says knkx weather expert Cliff Mass. “These really cold days and cold nights tend to be clear,” he says of the Northwest winter.
The lack of clouds let most of the warmth created by the sun radiate out to space, especially at night. Around the Puget Sound region that’s been allowing the temps that come with the blue skies to dip all the way in the teens in some places.
Jet Stream Aimed At California
Mass says a key factor in our dry weather – as well as all the rain and snow that have been making headlines in Oregon and California this week -- is a shift in the location of the atmospheric river off the West Coast, which funnels in moisture from Hawaii.
“Essentially the jet stream, which is typically over us this time of year, has moved south,” Mass explains.
“And on the north side of the jet, we tend to have the cold, dry weather, which has moved over us,” he said. “So the Arctic, Canadian weather has moved over the Northwest.”
Mass says the chilly and arid air will keep its grip on the area through most of the weekend, though it will gradually warm up a bit, relative to how it’s been.
“We’re going to be dry through the weekend, temperatures dropping down to the 20s at night and then moving up slowly during the day,” he said. “Around 40 and probably mid-40s as we get into Sunday.”
Rainy Starting On MLK day
On Monday, Mass says a series of warmer weather systems will start coming in.
“So we’ll get back to the clouds and rain and in fact, it may be substantial,” he said.
He says this may be the last we see of the sunny, dry weather for a while.
“Enjoy it,” Mass said. “It’s all going to change.”
To hear the forecast along with Cliff’s discussion of the huge amount of snow that hit Oregon this week and why forecasters got it wrong, you can click on the “play” icon at the top of this post.
The weekly knkx feature 'Weather with Cliff Mass’ airs every Friday at 9 a.m. immediately following ‘BirdNote’, and twice on Friday afternoons during ‘All Things Considered’. The feature is hosted by knkx environment reporter Bellamy Pailthorp. Cliff Mass is a University of Washington professor of atmospheric sciences, a renowned Seattle weather prognosticator, and a popular weather blogger. You can also subscribe to a podcast of ‘Weather with Cliff Mass’ shows.