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Ready, Set, Glow about Seattle's Perfect Summer Weather

While the East Coast melts with high temperatures and sweltering humidity, Seattleites get to enjoy "day after day of perfect weather," says Cliff Mass, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington. 

For the coming week, we'll see more of the same—low clouds in the morning that then burn off as the sun gets stronger with highs in the upper 70s and low 80s. 

This is a weather forecast to send to all your friends and relatives who are always going on and on about how rainy Seattle is. Or maybe don't tell them, so that we can keep this delicious secret to ourselves. 

"We have the best weather in the country (right now)," Mass says. "There’s no one even close."

What causes this dry weather? High pressure over the Eastern Pacific that causes the air to sink and destroy clouds. 

But even when it does rain here in the summer, the Pacific Northwest hardly ever gets thunderstorms. That's something Mass explored recently on his blog

He says there are two main reasons: thunderstorms form when low air is warm and high air is cool, and also when the air contains a lot of moisture. But in this region, the Pacific Ocean "ruins both of them for us," Mass says. 

"We’ve got this ocean there, but the air can’t get a lot of moisture, and that’s because the water is so cold," Mass said. 


Do you have a weather question? Cliff Mass occasionally answers reader questions on the air. Share yours here (at the bottom of the page, where you can sort the questions by "newest to oldest").

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. 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.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.