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Sunny Skies and Snowmelt Continuing; Warm Weekend Ahead

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Tim Durkan Photography
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It's a nice weekend for a ferry ride, with temps expected to reach into the lower 70s but keep your layers handy as the daily lows can also get quite chilly.

Gardeners can get out the gloves and seed but skiers will have to stow their gear. Clear skies and warm temperatures headed our way will melt the small blanket of new snow from last week, said KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“On Thursday, we had almost complete sunshine,” Mass said, adding that his team of meteorologists at the University of Washington measures the amount of solar radiation coming in. “And there were virtually no clouds getting in the way of our sensor, so it was total, maximum sunshine.”

Clouds And Sun Friday

That’s going to change as an upper level trough of low pressure moves in on Friday, north of Seattle.

“So there are some clouds over the Pacific that are moving in over the Northwest,” he said. “They’re not going to obscure the skies completely, but we’ll see a little bit of mixed sun today and temperatures will get up into the mid-60s.”

He says rain will stay away from western Washington, with only maybe a few sprinkles north of the border, in British Columbia.

“But a pretty nice day, plenty of sun – a little bit of cloud,” he said.

High Pressure Weekend = Sunny

A big, powerful ridge of high pressure will move in this weekend, Mass says, so high pressure and sinking air will fill the skies. 

“There’ll be a lot of sun over the weekend and it’s going to increase this week, as we go from Saturday to Sunday.”

Sunday, Mass said, the sky will be “virtually clear,” with temps up to 70. And the high-pressure ridge will strengthen even further on Monday, pushing the mercury into the low 70s - way above normal.

Next Year Should Be Better

Mass said this is an unusual summer, because of the high ridge of pressure that’s  been making the weather warm here, while the east coast has been cold.

“At this point, this year looks like a one-off,” he said. “It’s pretty clear this is not associated with global warming, it’s associated with this anomalous circulation in the Pacific.”

 He expects it to end sometime this year. "Next winter should be more normal.”

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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 beat for KNKX, where she has worked since 1999. From 2000-2012, she covered the business and labor beat. Bellamy has a deep interest in Indigenous affairs and the Salish Sea. She has a masters in journalism from Columbia University.
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