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Weekend Forecast In A Single Word: Perfect

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If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass said he is is staring at a virtual 10.

"The weather will be as close to perfect as you can imagine," Mass said Friday. "No precipitation for anybody. Full sun for virtually everyone."

The temperature on Friday will hit the middle to upper 70s, Mass said.  Saturday will get warmer still with the heat pushing into the low 80s for Western Washington.  Sunday will be more of the same.

While warm, the weather isn't in full-hot mode, Mass said. The high pressure system off-shore will remain stable through the early part of the week with light winds picking up around 3 p.m. 

Northwest weather will return from it's vacation late in the week with some rain and clouds.

Mass said what we are seeing is a strong El Nino effect that will continue through winter.

Literally translated as "the child," the name El Nino specifically is a reference to the Christ child because the unusually warm ocean effect generally happens around late December around Christmas. 

The impact on planetary weather is considerable, Mass said. "The big connection (in the Northwest) is that (when) we have a strong El Nino -- and it appears that we will have a strong El Nino this winter -- we tend to be warmer than normal, precipitation tends to be near normal, maybe slightly below normal and we tend to be less stormy."

The slight uptick in average temperatures means the state -- again -- is likely to see a reduced snowpack next winter. Mass said he doesn't expect the snow to be as scarce as this year. But he cautioned against hoping for a typical snowfall.

The region likely will see an upcoming winter snowfall of about 70 percent of a typical year, Mass said. But that will still be an improvement from the past year when the region's snowpack was only 25 percent of normal.

"There's no reason to expect (next winter) will be as bad as this year," 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 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.