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Wet Weather And Avalanche Danger Subsiding; Sunday Looking Dry And Warm

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Tim Durkan Photography
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Wet streets and city peeps in Seattle, WA - November 2015. Atmospheric Rivers have been hitting the city this week with big rain.

The atmospheric river that has been aimed at the Pacific Northwest like a fire hose is starting to let up. That means people in the area can expect a relatively pleasant Sunday for outdoor pursuits, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass. And the drier skies should help lift the risk of road closures due to avalanches on the mountain passes.

Heavy Rain From The Tropics Tapering Off

“Remember an atmospheric river is this relatively narrow current that comes out of the tropics and subtropics, that’s warm and full of moisture,” Mass explained, adding that on Thursday and into the early hours of Friday, it was hitting the region with a vengeance.

“A number of places in the mountains have gotten 4-6 inches of precipitation, liquid water – and in the lowlands, 1-2 inches,” he said, “That’s a lot. It’s been a very, very wet period.”

He says Friday the atmospheric river is expected to slide off and we’re going to get into a showery regime.

What To Expect This Weekend

On Friday it's expected to be mainly cloudy with temps getting into the upper 40s or “maybe around 50.”

On Saturday, another front comes through and will bring a little rain as it heads southward and snow above 5,000 feet, but warm in the lower elevations.

Sunday will be the driest day of the weekend with temperatures getting into upper 40s, partly sunny.

Monday should be dry, as well.

“So we’re going to get out of the heavy precipitation, but the impact of the atmospheric river has been profound,” says Mass.

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For a discussion of how the winds in the mountain passes are connected to snow, rain and avalanche risk, listen to the entire segment – you can download and podcast it, or listen online by clicking on the “play” icon at the top of this story.

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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.

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