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Predicted Warmer Weather Will Increase Golf Clapping; Fire Danger

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The weak, rainy front that stopped for a short visit the Puget Sound is moving along and leaving more warm dry weather in its wake, said Cliff Mass, KPLU's weather expert.

A small system between Seattle and Everett might bring brief showers later on Friday. But areas south of Seattle -- particularly areas hosting major golf tournaments -- should expect warm, dry weather for the whole weekend.  Saturday and Sunday will start with morning clouds that will clear as the day progresses, Mass said.

Temperatures, he added, will get into the mid 70s. There is very little chance of rain either day.

"We just got to get through this one system," Mass said, "and things are going to open up and be quite nice."

Mass said the clear weather does bring its own share of problems, however. "The wildfire risk is now getting much more serious," he said.  "The key thing is not the precipitation; it's temperature."

Mass said the state has been running hot, way above normal on both sides of the Cascades. The warmer temperature causes rapid evaporation of surface moisture.  This has the fuel for fires -- grasses and woods -- dry and ready to burn. With an expected increase in lightning over the next week, the conditions are ripe for a forest fire.

"The fire potential now is increasing substantially," he said. "People are going to have to be very careful."

The U.S. Open Weather at Chambers Bay

Mass said the region's reputation as wet and rainy is only partly true; In June and July, he said, the area around Chambers Bay and University Place is really quite dry. 

"By the time you get to mid June, its pretty dry around here," he said. "So that's not going to affect play."

Moreover, temperatures are moderate and the south Puget Sound also sees a drop in wind when compared to Seattle and the north sound at this time of year. With the south effectively in the rain shadow of the Olympic Range -- unlike areas north -- the conditions are ideal for golf. 

Mass said he's been enjoying the phone calls from media members in town for the U.S. Open who are shocked by the ideal weather. "They have this very web-footed view of our region," he said. "And they are not seeing that. They are a little bit surprised."

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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