Weather with Cliff Mass

University of Washington Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and renowned Seattle weather prognosticator/personality Cliff Mass has joined KNKX’s roster of commentators.

"Weather with Cliff Mass", our five-minute feature hosted by KNKX's environment reporter Bellamy Pailthorp, airs every Friday  at 9 a.m.  following "BirdNote", and repeats twice on Friday afternoons during All Things Considered. 

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Clear skies and cold temps have been dominating the weather in Washington lately, and that pattern is expected to continue for the next couple of days.

“They go together; that’s the bargain, the meteorological deal,” says knkx weather expert Cliff Mass. “These really cold days and cold nights tend to be clear,” he says of the Northwest winter.

Tim Durkan / Tim Durkan Photography

The cold, dry air that’s been pouring into the Northwest and keeping temps well below freezing is coming to an end this weekend. But before the Arctic air completes its exit and things warm up all the way, there’s a possibility of snow in many areas, says knkx weather expert Cliff Mass.

“We have to get through a bit of cold for the next day or two,” said Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

Very Cold Friday Morning

Tim Durkan / Tim Durkan Photography

With partly sunny skies and temperatures expected to get into the low 40s on Friday in western Washington, knkx weather expert Cliff Mass says enjoy it while you can.

“Wow – that’s going to seem warm in a few days,” he said of Friday’s temps. A major and sustained cold spell is expected to start over the weekend, with a good chance of snow showers in many parts of the region on New Year’s Eve.

Elaine Thompson, File / AP Photo

A white Christmas is a rarity in the greater Seattle area, but it’s not out of the question this year. A mix of snow and rain is expected in most places around the Puget Sound region. That could make for some treacherous driving conditions, says Ted Buehner with the Seattle office of the National Weather Service.

Snow Possible Friday

AP Photo / file

With high temperatures predicted to remain below freezing in many places around the Puget Sound region on Friday, this weekend is starting with some of the coldest weather people here have seen in quite a while, says knkx weather expert Cliff Mass.  

“This is the coldest air that we’ve had over our region probably in the last three years,” said Mass, who is a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

Rachel La Corte / AP Photo

The winter weather system that covered the Puget Sound region in several inches of snow overnight transitioned to rain as expected on Friday morning. More rain is in the forecast for the weekend, but then another tricky forecast is ahead for Monday, with the possibility of snow once again, says knkx weather expert Cliff Mass.

Wet Weekend

Mass expects Friday's snow will melt by mid-day, especially on the roadways. And he says rain is in the cards for most of the weekend.

Ted S. Warren, File / AP Photo

It’s time to get out your winter hats and gloves. The coldest temperatures of the year so far are in the forecast this weekend, says knkx weather expert Cliff Mass. There’s also a good chance of lowland snow hitting the Puget Sound region starting Sunday night.

“We have a lot of certainty that we will have a very cold period, at least compared to anything we’ve had in the last year,” Mass said. “But the big question is snow.”

Mountain Snow Already Here

Ted S. Warren, File / AP Photo

You hear about it every day on the TV news: “The radar” that delivers images of inclement weather systems as they approach. But what does it really show?

It’s a question about which knkx weather expert Cliff Mass gets tons of email. Clearly many people find this technology fascinating and its capabilities exciting. And the professor himself is not immune.

Elaine Thompson, File / AP Photo

Plenty of rain and lots of snow in the mountains could complicate holiday travel plans this Thanksgiving weekend. Pack your patience, especially if you are hitting local roads on Thursday, says knkx weather expert Cliff Mass.

He said Wednesday was providing a bit of a break after a strong front went through Tuesday night, producing very wet and treacherous conditions on local roads.

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Thursday’s weather offered a brief respite from the long spell of above-normal temperatures that have prevailed in Western Washington lately, but it won’t last. Expect another warmup and plenty of rain this weekend, says knkx weather expert Cliff Mass.

Tim Durkan / Tim Durkan Photography

Get outdoors and enjoy the weather on Friday, if you can. It’s expected to be the last day of a remarkable, record-setting string of unseasonably warm days.

In fact, knkx weather expert Cliff Mass says we are experiencing the warmest early November period in the history of the Northwest. This month Seattle has experienced eight days with temperatures of 60 degrees or higher — an all-time record. And Seattle charted a record high of 70 degrees on Election Day.

Tim Durkan / Tim Durkan Photography

Thursday and Friday brought exceptionally warm weather and sunny skies to many places around the Northwest. But they won’t last through the weekend, says knkx weather expert Cliff Mass.

On Thursday, temperatures reached the mid-60s throughout much of Puget Sound.

“Pretty warm,” Mass said of the abnormal pattern. “September temperatures, not November temperatures.”

He says Friday will be another very warm day.

“I expect Seattle to get to 63-65; lots of sun during the morning and maybe just some high clouds during the afternoon,” he said.

Tim Durkan / Tim Durkan Photography

A break in the showers for much of Friday won’t stop Seattle from busting through the all-time record for rainfall in October. Heavy rain all around the Northwest over the past couple of weeks had many locations already charting unprecedented levels, says knkx weather expert Cliff Mass.

And more wet is on the way.

Sea-Tac Will Chart Record Rain This Weekend 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Showers are in the forecast for Western Washington this weekend. But knkx weather expert Cliff Mass says the relatively minor precipitation expected marks a break in what has been a remarkably rainy October so far.

“I should stress how wet it has been.  The last two weeks have been extraordinary,” he said. “A number of places in the lowlands have gotten five to six inches – some more – and the mountains have gotten hit by five to 10 inches. You know, a lot of rain!”

Mass says this means there is a chance Seattle will break the all-time record for October rain: 8.96 inches.

Courtesy of Tim Durkan

Wet, stormy weather pounded Western Washington Friday morning, with heavy rain and winds gusting from 20- 30 mph in the Puget Sound region, taking out power for several thousand residents, especially along the coast. Oregon was hit even harder.  

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Very stormy weather is on its way to Western Washington. Forecasters have issued a high wind warning starting Thursday evening at 6 p.m., through Friday morning at 7. That means there could be gusts of up to 55 miles per hour and there will be several inches of rain, especially in the mountains.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

As Hurricane Matthew bore down on the East Coast, the first major storm of the season was hitting Western Washington. They’re not connected meteorologically, but knkx weather commentator Cliff Mass says the weather here was still quite intense on Thursday night and more will be coming in this weekend.

Ted S. Warren / AP photo

Fall got off to a damp and cloudy start in the Pacific Northwest on Friday. But knkx weather expert Cliff Mass says he expects “a nice fall weekend” ahead with plenty of sun, warming temps and an especially sunny flourish on Monday.

Mass says a weak Pacific front was moving in Friday morning “and it’s kind of getting split apart, so we’ll have clouds over most of the region, showers along the coast, in the Cascades and in the South Sound, but only a few sprinkles around Puget Sound because we’ll be somewhat rain shadowed by the Olympics.”

Tim Durkan / Tim Durkan Photography

Enjoy one last day of summer-like weather in the Puget Sound region on Friday, but brace yourselves for a big change on Saturday. Knkx weather expert Cliff Mass says the wettest weekend of the summer is on its way. And it will remain rainy and cool for the foreseeable future.

Tim Durkan / Tim Durkan Photography

School may have started for most kids in the Northwest, but the clear skies and warmth of late summer are still in play. Expect mostly sunny and dry conditions for most of this weekend, says knkx weather expert Cliff Mass.

And then it gets even better as we enter next week.

“The weekend will have a little bit of clouds, but next weekend should be really very nice,” Mass said.

Clear Skies Friday Afternoon

On Friday, he says temperatures will get up into the lower- to mid-70s, with some clouds in the morning, but those will mainly burn off. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

A line of convection brought rain into greater Seattle Friday morning, but knkx weather expert Cliff Mass says that should be the worst of it over the long holiday weekend for most places around Puget Sound.

“We’ll see just showers most of the day, except in northern Puget Sound,” Mass said, noting that he expects a Puget Sound convergence zone to form late in the day, bringing some heavier showers from North Seattle up to Everett.

Tim Durkan / Tim Durkan Photography

If you like the sunshine and heat, get out there and enjoy it on Friday. A heat advisory is in effect through the evening, with highs expected in the mid-80s to low 90s. But KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass says a cool down is coming, likely marking the start of a big transition to cooler conditions as summer in the Northwest begins to wane.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

An excessive heat warning has been in effect since Thursday this of week and temperatures are expected to hit the 90s  in places around the Puget Sound region through Saturday.

It will be sunny and hot all weekend long. And the heat wave comes as no real surprise; This is typical weather around here for August, when we expect our hottest temperatures of the year.

But why now?  Shouldn’t it be in June, when the sun is strongest?

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It’s hard not to gloat about Northwest weather in a week like this one. And KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass says the glory of blue skies and warm but comfortable temperatures is set to continue for most of the coming weekend.

“We’re stuck in this pattern of near perfection of weather,” Mass joked. “We’re in the 70s and low 80s and dry conditions while the rest of the country’s in heat and humidity and thunderstorms. So we can’t complain,” he said.

Warmest On Friday

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The first weekend in August is statistically one of the driest and warmest weekends in the Pacific Northwest. It also marks the height of outdoor summer fun in Seattle as Seafair’s hydroplane races hit the water and the Blue Angels show off their daredevil moves in the skies above.  

KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass says this year’s Seafair Weekend forecast is for cooler than normal weather and even some rain.

“But the rain’s going to hold off till the end of Sunday, so I think most activities will be fine,” Mass said.

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Have you ever noticed that oftentimes on summer afternoons, big clouds seem to form right over the Cascades or the Olympics, almost like the mountains have their own weather systems? They do.

“It’s true,” says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“Many summer afternoons, we see puffy cumulus clouds starting to form over the upper slopes of the Cascades. And they increase in width and height during the afternoon and quite frequently you have a few showers there – even some lightning,” he said.  “And so that’s real, we see it over the Cascades, we see it over the Olympics.”

sea turtle / Flickr via Compfight

“Liquid sunshine” made an ample appearance as the Northwest weekend got off to a wet and cloudy start. But KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass promises warmer temps and clearer skies as the weekend progresses. In fact, he says we’re headed into what is usually one of the nicest times of year and he expects it won’t disappoint.

“We’re about to go into an extended dry spell,” Mass said.

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Mid-July is well into what most people in the Pacific Northwest consider the summer season, which can be delightfully sunny and warm. Last year, it was characterized by record heat.

Not this year. KPLU Weather expert Cliff Mass says it will be pretty gray for most of this weekend. And though it feels cool compared to last year, it’s actually relatively average in terms of temperatures.  

Joey Cohn / KPLU

Expect the cool, cloudy skies and rain to continue this weekend. KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass says the unseasonable weather is so extreme this year, he’s coined a new phrase for it: “Januly.”

He says though it’s not quite as cold as January, the patterns he’s seeing in the atmosphere resemble ones more typically seen in winter.

This Independence Day, don’t expect the scorching heat we’ve seen in recent summers around here. But it will be pleasant this year, with fine conditions for viewing fireworks, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.  

“You know this is going to be a classic July 4th weekend,” Mass said, “where there’s a lot of clouds and a few sprinkles.”

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