A Mild And Only Partly Rainy Weekend Ahead As Northwest’s Wet Weather Heads For California

Feb 17, 2017

The plume of moisture that was aimed at Western Washington earlier this week, bringing huge amounts of rain to the Northwest, is now over California. That means a relatively mild President’s Day here, while the Golden State is getting doused.

“All the weather’s going to California,” said knkx weather expert Cliff Mass.

Dry And Mild Friday

He says Friday will bring partly cloudy skies to the Puget Sound region and maybe a little bit of sun, with temperatures getting up into the mid-50s.

“So, pretty nice and virtually no chance of rain anywhere in the lowlands,” Mass said, “A very nice day.”

Wetter This Weekend

Mass says the weekend will see deterioration, but not very quickly.

Saturday, he says a weak system will be coming into us and bringing with it some light rain  in the afternoon, with temperatures getting up to around 50.

“So, a pretty decent day, except for some light showers,” Mass said. “So, you know, bring your Gore-Tex or a little umbrella and you’ll be fine.“

He expects Sunday to start off relatively dry, but showers will start developing in the afternoon, as a bigger system starts moving in.

“And it could in fact get heavier at night,” Mass said.  He says Sunday’s temperatures will still likely reach 47-48. “So, not a bad day, but I think there will be rain,” he said.

On Monday, he says expect more steady rain, with temperatures in the mid- to upper 40s. “So, a pretty typical weekend around here, nothing severe and no substantial flooding or any kind of concern here in the Northwest,” Mass said.

California Bracing For Big Rains

Mass says California, on the other hand, is a different story. The plume of strong moisture known as an  ‘atmospheric river’ that was over us and caused mudslides and sewage overflows this week has now moved south into California.

“So, first there was fairly heavy rain in the Sierras and now it’s down to Southern California. And it really is a very threatening situation. Some areas, from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles, particularly in the mountains, are going to get 5 to 10 inches of rain,” Mass said.  “And in the lowlands in Los Angeles, maybe 3 inches.”

Mass notes that these areas are not used to heavy rain. So the intensities will be enough to cause flooding.

“I expect some flash flooding in the mountains, in places that there have been fires, you can have debris flows. So it’s a serious situation in Southern California.” Mass said.

Record Wet February In The Northwest?

While the weekend ahead looks relatively dry, Seattle looks like it could break a rain record with nearly 8 inches of rain tallied for the month so far, Mass said. But he said overall, the winter looks pretty average for in terms of wet weather.

“February has been very wet, but the earlier part of the winter was dry,” Mass said. “So, all together we’re at normal or a little bit below normal for precipitation. But the last few weeks have been quite wet and February might end up being a record for that month.”

To hear the forecast along with Cliff’s discussion of  how naturally occurring salt falls from the sky, 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.