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Another Cloudy Northwest Weekend; Typical Summer, With No Heat Waves In Sight

Flickr via Compfight
Seattle skyline from the water as seen on July 12th, 2016

Mid-July is well into what most people in the Pacific Northwest consider the summer season, which can be delightfully sunny and warm. Last year, it was characterized by record heat.

Not this year. KPLU Weather expert Cliff Mass says it will be pretty gray for most of this weekend. And though it feels cool compared to last year, it’s actually relatively average in terms of temperatures.  

Sun Breaks Friday Afternoon

Friday started off with clouds. “Some low marine stratocumulus that’s over much of Western Washington. But there will be some sun breaks later and I think we’ll see temperatures rising up into the mid-70s for a lot of people,” Mass said.

“A really pretty decent day," Mass added “and not much precipitation.”

Morning Clouds Saturday

Mass says there is an upper-level trough moving north of us, bringing rain into British Columbia.

“And I think it’s going to stick around over the weekend,” Mass said.

That means expect morning clouds on Saturday, with temperatures starting to rise as the clouds break up.

“In Western Washington I think around lunchtime,” Mass said.

But he says expect rain over the mountains, with a good chance of cumulous and even cumulonimbus clouds aloft, due to the upper-level trough.

“So if you’re going to go hiking, be prepared,” Mass said, adding that the area of low pressure passing us could bring some showers into Eastern Washington too. “So you gotta be prepared [there] as well.”

Trough 'Digs In' Sunday

On Sunday, Mass says the upper-level trough will get a little bit deeper over us, bringing a chance of showers back over the other side of the Cascades, with temperatures in the mid-70s.

“I think we’ll see a lot of morning clouds and I am afraid there could very well be showers over the mountains and some of them could even back into Western Washington,” he said.  

He says the chance of showers increases a bit on Monday, with temperatures again getting up into the mid-70s.

“So pretty normal, but there’ll be plenty of clouds and there’s a chance of showers,” Mass said, adding that though it may seem like a dreary summer so far, the temperatures are pretty close to normal.

“You know, this time of the year we should get up into the mid-70s and we are,” he said. But he says looking at the big picture, with a big trough replacing last year’s persistent high-amplitude ridge off the coast, he is certain there will be no major heat waves in the foreseeable future.

“So forget about 80s and 90s – you know, the warm stuff, it ain’t gonna happen, at least during the next week or so,” Mass said.

To hear the forecast along with a discussion of how the atmospheric pattern is completely different this year compared to last and the effects that has on the weather, 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 for KNKX with an emphasis on climate justice, human health and food sovereignty. She enjoys reporting about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Story tips can be sent to