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'Unusually Strong' April Storm Kicking Off Mostly Benign Weekend, Says Meteorologist Cliff Mass

An unusually strong April storm is headed for the Pacific Northwest. A high wind advisory is in effect from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, with gusts of up to 60 mph expected in places, especially on the coast.

“This is probably the strongest April storm in the last half-century. So it’s that unusual,“ Mass said Friday morning as the storm was approaching.

“Right now, the satellite pictures — and even the radar — is showing that the storm is just maybe 100 miles west of Astoria, Oregon. So it’s moving northward and it’s right offshore ... and it’s going to cross Vancouver Island probably around 6, 7 p.m. this evening [Friday].”

Mass said that along the Oregon coast, communities were already being hit hard by strong winds on Friday morning, with some places getting gusts from 60-70 mph and a few higher gusts in higher locations.

“And as the storm moves northward, those strong winds will first hit the Washington coast. And that’s going to happen during the next few hours,” Mass predicted, “so certainly between 10 and noon.”

Then, Mass says by the time we get into the early afternoon the winds will strike the Puget Sound region.

“It’s going to be weaker over the Puget Sound region than over the coast,” Mass said.

On the Washington coast, he predicted winds of  50-70 mph, with sustained winds “probably around 30.”

Here in Puget Sound, he expected winds to get up to 40-50 mph around Seattle and maybe higher in Northwest Washington.    

“So this will be pretty strong,” Mass said. “It will be enough that I think here will be some power outages. There will be some trees that will be downed.”

He said he expects the winds to weaken starting around 9 p.m. on Friday. “And by Saturday morning, the winds will be pretty much dead.”

Quieter Weekend With ‘Best Day’ Sunday

Mass said Saturday will be a transition day with a mix of some showers and sunbreaks as unstable air moves in aloft. Temperatures should get up into the lower 50s, he says.

“The best day of the weekend is going to be Sunday. It’ll be partly cloudy – temperatures getting into the lower 50s and maybe only a 10 percent chance of rain,” he said.

Mass says unfortunately, by Sunday evening and getting into Monday, another storm system will be approaching.

“So, the main action is going to be today,” he said Friday morning. “And today is when people have to be prepared for the potential of falling branches and some power outages.”

To hear the forecast along with Cliff’s discussion of a crowdsourcing effort to fund climate research that he is spearheading at the University of Washington, you can click on the “play” icon at the top of this post.

The weekly KNKX 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 KNKX 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 podcasts of ‘Weather with Cliff Mass’ shows, via iTunes or Google Play.

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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