Mass: 2013 Was 'Kind Of A Boring Year,' But With 'Some Interesting Details'

Jan 5, 2014

The year 2013 was “kind of a boring year,” says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass. “Nothing really extraordinary.”

We saw average temperatures, no extreme storms and not much snow — much less excitement than Mass had hoped for. Even the few tornados we saw were not unusual, he says.

Still, Mass admits, “we had some interesting details.”

‘Abrupt Change’ From Drought To Rain

“July was the driest July in the Seattle history for a number of local stations in the Puget Sound area,” said Mass. “But the contrast was amazing. September, on the other hand, was the wettest September in history. So it was really an abrupt change from real drought to heavy precipitation.”

Still, it was a very dry year with below-normal snowfall, says Mass, who teaches atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

“We had a trace of snow in January, and we had about an inch in December. We should be averaging much more than that, you know, 8, 9 inches,” he said. “The normal precipitation here is about 37½ inches. We had about 32½ inches, so 5 inches down.”

Thunderstorm And Lightning

Remember the lightning we saw in August in September? Mass says those storms proved especially problematic on the eastern slopes of the Cascades.

“There were a few major storms that moved up the eastern slopes, and they caused extraordinarily heavy precipitation. And there was heavy landslides, and even some of the roads got closed,” he said.

Looking Ahead To 2014

Mass says this year looks a lot like the last — ho-hum.

“I wish we had a more exciting year coming up,” he said. “Like it’s going to be another neutral year,” he said.


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.