Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Mass: Bundle Up! Worst of the Cold Snap to Arrive this Weekend

Lisa Nakamura

Shivering in the cold snap? The worst has yet to come, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

‘Colder Air than We’ve Had’

Temperatures will drop even more this weekend, says Mass, who teaches atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

“The coldest temperature of this event will occur Saturday and Sunday, and I expect Sunday morning to be ground zero for cold,” he said. "As the low goes by, cold air is going to be moving out—even colder air than we’ve had before.”

A number of places in western Washington, even places near Puget Sound, will see temperatures in the teens.

“Many places so far have only experienced mid- to low 20s. We’re going to get lower than that,” said Mass.

Bone-Chilling Winds in the Mountains and Down

Strong easterly winds coupled with cold temperatures will make for severe conditions in the mountains, said Mass.

“That could produce wind chills as low as -20,” he said. “So it’s going to be really dangerous up in the mountains.”

And where there are gaps in the mountains, gusty winds will swoop down and hit the lowlands in places like Bellingham.

“The winds will be gusting from 20 to 30 mph over land, and maybe as fast as 40 to 50 mph over water, so that’s going to be something that’s going to get your attention,” said Mass.

There will also be strong winds descending the western slopes of the Cascades.

“So places like Enumclaw, Black Diamond and North Bend can expect very windy conditions,” Mass said.

A Dusting of Snow in Some Places

Friday morning brought a dusting of snow in some places.

“From Olympia southward, there has been some very light snow on the order of a quarter- to a half an inch,” Mass said, adding as the current low pressure swings southward, the snow will move to western Oregon.

Sunday might bring more snow to the coast and Oregon, Mass said, though the models don’t show a certainty.

What’s Next?

The models suggest moisture will break through from the west and the southwest on Tuesday or Wednesday.

“Now, that will bring clouds. It’ll bring precipitation. The question is: will it start as snow in the lowlands?” Mass said.

There will definitely be snow in the mountains, said Mass, but we’ll have to see what happens in the lowlands.

“Will it start in as snow in the lowlands before it warms up and turns all into rain? That’s what we’re going to have to watch,” he said. 


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