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Expect A Heat Hiatus But Little Lowland Rain

Tim Durkan


A cool breeze brought relief to the region last night with apartment dwellers in the Belltown neighborhood enjoying outdoor music on patios or sitting on nearby ledges and breathing a bit easier.

The wind swept the smoke out the sky, improving air quality while dropping temperatures by 15 degrees in a single day, said KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass. This stands in sharp contrast to the past three weeks which saw a long series of record-breaking temperatures. 

"A number of locations were five to 10 degrees above normal," Mass said. "We had major records broken in eastern Washington. Walla Walla got to 113 (degrees) for example."

"Everything is changing now."

Some of the credit goes to the smoke from the wildfires that have dotted the Pacific Northwest and turned sunsets neon orange. "It turns out this smoke had a cooling impact," Mass said. "Smoke scatters and reflects some of the solar radiation."

Mass said there will be more clouds over the next few days but big rains in the lowlands are unlikely. "What we will see are some showers, particularly thundershowers," he said. Any storms likely will be centered in the Cascades and Eastern Washington, he added. 

But as nice as this cloudy phase might feel for the moment, there is an increased risk of wildfires. If lightning strikes, we could be in big trouble, Mass said. "The big issue about fires here now is going to be lightning. Everything is very dry."

You can learn more by clicking on the “play” icon and listening to the entire segment.


The weekly KPLU feature "Weather with Cliff Mass" airs every Fridayat 9 a.m. immediately following BirdNote, and twice on Fridayafternoons 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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