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Record high pressure stalls our weather, causes high winds in Calif.

Associated Press
Pedestrians, left, view trees blown over during a wind storm Thursday in Pasadena, Calif. High winds caused by the high pressure over Seattle flipped over trees and trucks and knocked out power to more than 300,000 California.

The weather we are experiencing today will continue for the next week, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass. And that means the high winds in California, parts of Utah and Nevada are likely to continue as well.

“We are going to see our weather dominated by high pressure right off shore in the Eastern Pacific – it’s going to prevent any weather system from getting in here,” Mass said. “So it should be dry for the next, at least, three to five days. No precipitation. No storms. No nothing.”

But that’s not the case for Californians. This record high pressure sitting over the Northwest is causing air to rush from that high pressure into the low pressure zone in the Southwestern U.S.

"When there are extreme difference in pressure, that produces winds that can gust up to hurricane strength," he says.

In Washington, it means our skies will be dominated by low clouds and fog morning and night. Sometimes, these pressure phenomena can last weeks.

How to escape this Twilight Zone of fog

If you want to glimpse some sunshine and slightly warmer temps, Mass says, in an inversion you often can climb above the fog zone by taking a hike in the foothills.

"Temperatures actually warm with height, at least up through the first few hundred meters or maybe a thousand meters. ... Days like today, you go to Tiger Mountain, 2,500 feet high, it will be warmer up there, and sunny and cloud free."

Do you have a weather question? Cliff Mass and Keith Seinfeld will pick a few reader questions to answer later this month. Share yours here.

The weekly KPLU feature "Weather with Cliff Mass" airs every Friday at 9 a.m. immediately following BirdNote, and repeats twice on Friday afternoons during All Things Considered. The feature is hosted by KPLU’s Health and Science reporter Keith Seinfeld. Cliff Mass is a University of Washington Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and renowned Seattle weather prognosticator. You can also listen to a podcast of this and previous "Weather with Cliff Mass" shows.

Keith Seinfeld has been KPLU’s Health & Science Reporter since 2001, and prior to that covered the Environment beat. He’s been a staff reporter at The Seattle Times and The News Tribune in Tacoma and a freelance writer-producer. His work has been honored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.