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Rainy Weekend Ahead Will Add To Seattle’s Record Wet Winter

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Tim Durkan Photography
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The cliche of Seattle's wet weather is ringing true this water year.

Have you noticed an abundance of rainy days over the past several months, but also warmer than normal temps? If so, you’re a really good judge of what’s been happening in Northwest skies lately.

KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass says it’s been the wettest water year in Seattle’s history. And this weekend, the systems will deliver a bunch more of the same, so keep that lightweight rain gear handy.

Rain is in the forecast all weekend long because of a band of heavy showers that can be referred to as an “atmospheric river” that's aimed directly at the Olympic Mountains, says Mass.

So, along the coast and in the Olympics, it’s going to be very wet on Friday.

“They could have between three and four or five inches of rain before the day’s out,” Mass said.

“But fortunately, this band is narrow enough that here in Puget Sound, we’re going to escape it for most of the day,” he adds.

He says relatively warm southwesterly flow above us will push temperatures up into the upper 50s again on Friday, or even near 60.

“Amazing,” Mass says, confirming that last month’s temps – like those forecast for the weekend – have been well above normal for our area.

Mass says the band of weather will move through on Friday night, bringing wet stuff into Seattle, “no doubt about it,” and that as it passes through, it will bring a warm and showery regime that will last all weekend long.

Damp Weekend Forecast With Some Sun Breaks

Saturday will see temps in the upper 50s, with on-and-off showers. People in the mountains and ski areas should expect rain.

Sunday, the systems will back off, but showers will continue, with high temps dropping into the lower 50s and intermittent precipitation.

“So there’re gonna be breaks and it’s not going to be continuous rain the whole weekend, but it’s definitely going to be warm,” Mass says. “And if you’re on the Olympics, you’re gonna get it.”

High Winds In Coastal Areas Near San Juans

Mass warns that a number of very powerful weather systems will be moving up the coast of Washington.

”So along the coast, and offshore, there will be winds gusting to 50-70 miles per hour,” he says.  So there could be some real big events offshore.

“And the one place that it could be windy in our local area is Northwest Washington – so from Whidbey Island the San Juans – that area – as the strong southwesterly flow interacts with the mountains, it’ll produce very strong winds,” Mass says. There could be storm damage in those areas.

He says central Puget Sound will likely see some gusts once in a while over the weekend “but probably nothing that will knock the power out.”

To hear the forecast plus a discussion of how the record wet and very warm winter is measured, as well as Cliff’s take on this year’s seasonal forecasts and why they have gone wrong, you can click the “play” icon at the top of the post.

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.