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Mass: Hunker Down for Cold, Blustery Weekend

Jonathan Cooper
This snowy shot of Stevens Pass was taken earlier this month.

Batten down the hatches and get ready for a cold and gusty weekend, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

Mass says a major system in the Gulf of Alaska is headed our way, and will hit the lowlands with strong winds and the mountains with snow.

“That’s going to first cause the winds here in Seattle and Puget Sound to increase to 20, 30 mph with maybe a few higher gusts,” said Mass, who teaches atmospheric science at the University of Washington.

There are also winds as strong as 50 mph blowing in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Mass says, and those gusts might strike areas like the western side of Whidbey Island.

“And then cold air in British Columbia, which is now the coldest we’ve seen in probably in six months, that’s going to start moving southward,” Mass said. “It’s possible a little bit of that cold air is going to sneak through the Fraser River Valley and come into Bellingham and Blaine, and those parts of northwest Washington.” 

The mountains will see as much as 2 feet of  “fluffy, powdery snow,” Mass says, but things won’t be so nice on the passes.

“This heavy snowfall, which could be an inch an hour at least, and strong winds in the mountains, which could be 30, 40 mph, will create blizzard-like conditions in the passes,” Mass said.

Another weak system will move in on Sunday, bringing light rain in the lowlands and possibly more snow in the mountains.

We’ll get a break on Monday, says Mass, then another strong system may move in on Tuesday, though not all the models are in agreement.


The weekly KPLU 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 KPLU 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.


Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment for KNKX with an emphasis on climate justice, human health and food sovereignty. She enjoys reporting about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Story tips can be sent to