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Rain Returning To Parched Pacific Northwest After Very Dry May

This May, people living in the Puget Sound region experienced a lot of warmth and a month so dry, it matched the record for the driest May on record. The dry spell actually began in mid-April, so it lasted about 6 weeks.

That was changing Friday as clouds rolled in and skies began to darken. KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass says folks here had better keep their rain gear in reach.

“We’re going to see some substantial rain, tonight and into this weekend,” said Mass Friday morning.

He says a strong Pacific front will come in Friday night, bringing a lot of wet weather with it.

“I expect some steady showers from dinnertime on into the evening hours. And I expect Saturday will be a continuation. So lots of rain,” he said.

The rain will hit both the lowlands of Western Washington and up into the mountains, with some even reaching Eastern Washington, Mass said.

"So Saturday should be a rainy day,” he said. “And then Sunday – well, it’ll be a little bit better.”

Still, Mass said, expect quite a few showers.

“Post-frontal precipitation, we call it,” he said. “So there will be a lot of showers on the windward side — the western side —  of the Cascades.  And I even expect a Puget Sound Convergence Zone to form north of Seattle, to give a little extra rain between Seattle and Everett.”

The term, Puget Sound Convergence Zone, refers to an area where the wet air currents, come off the ocean, hit the Olympic Mountains and come together on the other side,  typically producing an area of very heavy rain.

Mass says people can look on the bright side, especially those with outdoor plants to take care of.

“It’s great if you’re worried about watering your lawn or your vegetable garden. I think you’re going to get a break, because we’ll have enough rain not to water for at least several days.”

To hear the full conversation, including Cliff’s discussion of the 'warm temperature bias' caused by faulty weather measuring tech in Yakima and some other places, you can click on the 'play' icon at the top of this post.

Weather with Cliff Mass airs at 9:02 a.m. Friday, right after 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.

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