The vernal equinox marks the official start of spring. That starts Tuesday. But for most folks in the Pacific Northwest, it feels like spring has already arrived.
Temperatures surged as a brief heat wave Monday pushed the mercury as high as 73 degrees at SeaTac airport, one of several record levels recorded for the day.
Milder temperatures and mellow weather will continue this weekend, says KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass.
A Pleasant Weekend Ahead
“I think this weekend is actually not going to be that bad, but it’s not going to be as warm earlier this week,” said Mass, a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle.
He says Friday’s weather starts out sunny and warm, with temperatures getting up into the 50s.
“So a very nice day,” he said. “Generally dry, maybe a few sprinkles on the south side of western Washington.”
He says expect more of that pattern all around Puget Sound this weekend, with not much of a chance of rain in most places.
“You could have some showers to the south of us and in the mountains,” Mass said.
Low Pressure System Sending Wet Weather To California
The dominant weather pattern behind all of this, Mass says, is a trough of low pressure. That’s causing offshore flow, which brings in relatively cool air from the ocean. But most of its effects are headed further south, into California.
“California is being hammered by one system after the other. And in fact their snow pack is increasing rapidly,” Mass said, adding that the additional water resources that come in with all the storms are needed and welcome.
But he says the Pacific Northwest will be spared of most of that.
On Saturday, expect partly cloudy skies, temperatures in the mid-50s, and perhaps a few sprinkles.
“Again, particularly as you get into the slopes of the Cascades. But a pretty nice day,” Mass said.
On Sunday, he says there may be a few more clouds, but temperatures will again be in the mid-50s, and again, there could be a few sprinkles floating around.
“But at any particular location maybe 20 percent chance of rain,” Mass said.
“And in fact, it looks like the situation will even dry out further as we get into Monday and Tuesday. So, generally good,” he said.
To hear the full conversation – including a look back at the record-high temperatures earlier this week and what caused them – you can click on the 'play' icon at the top of this post.
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 blogger. You can also subscribe to podcasts of Weather with Cliff Mass shows, via iTunes or Google Play.