Dry Spell Coming To An End As Rain And Cool Temperatures Return

Sep 15, 2017

Fall doesn't technically start until Sept. 21, but it's arriving early this year as a front moves into the region this weekend. KNKX weather expert Cliff mass says it'll bring cooler temperatures and rain. 

"We've had this run of dry weather that extended out for months. Temperatures have been above normal. We've even had smoke and ash," Mass said. "But everything's going to change this weekend."

Temperatures will plummet on Sunday with highs only in the low 60s. It'll look about the same on Monday with much of the rain coming then.

"It was about time this happened. The sun is now getting weaker. The nights are getting longer, and eventually it had to catch up with us," Mass said.

And while we've been experiencing those dry conditions in the Pacific Northwest, people to the south have seen much more rain and wind. On Mass' blog this week, he examines the forecasting that lead up to Hurricane Irma, in particular. That's the storm that hit Florida. 

"Standing back, the forecast for Irma was a triumph," Mass said.

Mass says the European Center Model was forecasting the storm 10 days ahead of landfall. Then two to three days in advance the storm, the models show the sharp turn it would take. Mass points to technology upgrades and an improvement in forecast models over the last few decades as reasons for such precise information.

"We have sophisticated weather satellites that not only get pretty pictures, but can actually sense the temperatures and winds at various levels in the atmosphere. In the old days, we didn't know what was going on over the oceans, but today we know everything that's going on with the ocean," Mass said. "Our models have gotten much better. Our global models have higher and higher resolution and better physics."

Weather with Cliff Mass airs at 9:02 a.m. Friday, right after 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 bloggerYou can also subscribe to podcasts of Weather with Cliff Mass shows, via iTunes or Google Play.