The extraordinarily wet weather pattern we have seen so far this year is about to get a bit better. But first, people in the greater Seattle area have to get through one more rain event. That’s according to KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass, who teaches atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.
“This has been the wettest winter season in Seattle history and that’s going back to 1895,” said Mass. That’s in terms of measuring the so-called “water year,” which is defined as the total precipitation from October to April.
“And we have a record,” Mass said. As of Friday morning, it was at 45 inches measured at Sea-Tac airport.
“Isn’t that amazing?” he said. The normal water year would put that at about 30 inches. “So we’re way above – and this is the wettest we’ve ever had.”
Mass notes that is also the case in Portland, Ore. And he says even San Francisco has had record-breaking rainfall this year – the so-called Golden City by the Bay has been as soggy as is normal for Seattle this water year.
“So they’ve been suffering down there,” he says. “It’s been an extraordinary year.”
But Mass says that is about to change. “Fortunately, it looks like it’s going to dry out during the next few days.”
Weekend Forecast: Mixed
Mass says Friday will be showery at first, but those will dry out as the sun comes in and temps reach the 60s.
Saturday starts with dry skies that stay so till afternoon, but then clouds will thicken and rain will start “sometime in the afternoon,” Mass said. That’s due to a vigorous front that he says will come through Saturday night and into Sunday’s early hours.
A showery Sunday morning should improve as the day wears on, Mass says. But there will still be “some showers in the area, particularly on the western slopes of the Cascades.”
Warmer And Dryer Early Next Week
He says the improving trend will bring warmer, dryer weather starting Monday and improving through Tuesday and Wednesday.
“So, we’re going to go into a drying trend, temperatures getting up into the lower 60s, by mid-week.
And actually, over the next week or so, it looks like we’re getting into a different pattern, and I don’t expect the sustained rains that we’ve had the last several weeks.”
To hear the podcast of this segment, including a discussion of the classic local weather feature known as the Puget Sound Convergence Zone, which causes intense rainstorms like the ones seen in the Northwest earlier this week, 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 podcasts of ‘Weather with Cliff Mass’ shows, via iTunes or Google Play.