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Back To Northwest Normal: June’s Cool And Showery Weather Here To Stay

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Barry Lancaster
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Flickr via Compfight

Late spring in the Northwest is known for cool and showery weather, what’s often referred to locally as “June gloom.” After a record breaking heat wave last week, it looks like the normal pattern has returned to Western Washington skies – and that it will stick around for quite a while.

“June is traditionally a time of clouds and showers,” said KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, adding “this weekend won’t disappoint.”

He says the one “decent” day of the weekend will be Sunday.

Rain And Possible Thundershowers Friday

“Right now, we have a cold upper-level low over us and that is rotating showers into Western Washington. And in fact, as the sun warms the surface, the air will become unstable and I will expect some thunderstorms or at least some convective showers [Friday afternoon],” Mass said. “So, be ready for some rain, because there probably will be some wherever you are in Western Washington.”  

Sunday Is Best Day Ahead For Outdoor Pursuits

If hiking or gardening or a nice picnic are on your to-do list for the weekend, best to put that off till Sunday, Mass says.

“Saturday, the low is still around; it’s starting to move out, but expect it to be mostly cloudy, some showers, 40-50 percent chance of showers at any particular location. So, very typical. Highs around 65-66. So, even a little cooler than normal,” said Mass.

He says the best day of the weekend will come on Sunday, as the weather dynamics shift a bit.

“Sunday, a mini-ridge goes over us. Temperatures will go up into the upper 60s. There probably will be some sun — there’ll be clouds too — but some sun and a pretty decent day. So Sunday is the day you want to be out,” he said.

Cloudy, Cool Pattern Persists Next Week

And if sun is your thing, best to enjoy it while it lasts on Sunday, because Mass says the start of the week will bring another big shift toward gloomy, and much cooler weather.

“The world changes again on Monday, into Tuesday, Wednesday,” Mass said. 

“A very, very strong upper-level trough [bringing] cool, moist air will move in,” he said.

“And so our temperatures will plummet back into the mid to lower 60s — lots of clouds and showers. So, it’s going to be relatively wet this week. And quite frankly, the long range models are keeping us in this different pattern —troughy, low pressure over us and lots of clouds and showers.“

It might be hard to remember in the midst of all the grey, but this is in stark contrast to the unseasonably warm and sunny skies we saw this time last year. Clearly, the collapse of the strong, warm El Niño is in full effect, with the cooler influence of La Niña starting to show her colors.

“So, it’s not like last year – nothing like last year,” Mass said.  

For a discussion of Cliff’s take on legislation that went before the U.S. House Science Committee that would have the National Weather Service give up most local forecasting duties, relying instead on the private sector , you can click on the “play” icon at the top of this 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.
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