Lifting Fog, Persistant Ridge And Mysterious Cloud Patterns Over Seattle

Dec 27, 2013

If you got caught in the fog on Thursday, you were not alone. KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass says he, too, got a bit lost in the muck on his way to the airport. 

Good News: No Burn Ban

The fog that lingered near Tacoma and Lynnwood will melt away soon, says Mass, who teaches atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

And there's a 50 percent chance of rain in the forecast, which is probably why there is no burn ban at the moment.

"There's a weak front approaching," said Mass, adding the front will cause the fog to dissipate.

Bad News: Not Much Snow For Skiers

There will be rain, but the warm air above us will keep the passes from getting much snow.

"I hate to say it, but this ridge is coming back again," said Mass.

The persistent ridge has been extraordinarily persistent and holding down a pattern that doesn't bode well for skiers and snowboarders.

What Are Those Clouds In The Sky?

Mass says he received multiple reports and pictures of a wavy cloud pattern in the sky over north Seattle. This pattern is called Kelvin Helmhoz, after two men.

"It looked like the waves were breaking in two directions," Mass said. 

Mass says it's something that occurs when two currents from opposite directions collide in the air.

"This is a great mystery that I am going to try to figure out," said Mass, adding he is investigating the phenomenon and will write about it in an upcoming blog post. 


The weekly KPLU 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 KPLU 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.