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Bask In The Sunshine While You Can: Cool, Wet Weather Returns Soon

Bellamy Pailthorp
The fountain at Seattle Center us still on, in mid-November, 2018.

It’s that time of year when seasoned Northwesterners soak up as much sunshine as they can when they can — because the end is near. KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass says the last two weeks of November predictably bring the worst weather of the year.

But this weekend, he says there will be quite a bit of sun. Mass expects many people will get out and enjoy it.

“People will be basking (in it) this weekend,” Mass says. “This is going to be a gift: a relatively sunny weekend in early- to mid-November.”

Rainy Friday

On Friday morning, he said a weak weather system would be coming through, with a front making landfall around mid-morning.

“So rain will move into the Puget Sound region, somewhere around 10 to 11 o'clock.  So we’ll have a band of rain that will move through by dinnertime. So I think by 4 o'clock or so, it’ll be done,” Mass said.  

He says temperatures will stay around 50 and the rain won’t be very heavy.

“So not a great day, but not the worst,” he said.

Sunny Starting Saturday

On Saturday, Mass says, a ridge of high pressure builds over the region, and that will push out any lingering clouds.  

“Maybe a few clouds in the morning, temperatures getting up to 50, we’ll see some sun,” he says. And the sunny pattern continues after that.

“Another day just like it on Sunday, dry, they’ll be plenty of sun — so enjoy that. And even more amazingly, the ridge amplifies on Monday and Tuesday,” Mass said.

The sunny skies will come with rising temperatures, getting into the mid-50s, Mass says.

“So, it’s a really nice stretch in early November,” he said.

Wet And Cooler Starting Wednesday

Coming Wednesday, Mass says, everything changes.

“We go back to normal,” he says. “The jet stream will move toward us, disturbances will propagate into the Northwest, and we’ll get back into rain and temperatures only getting into the upper 40s.

“So, enjoy it while you’ve got it,” Mass said.

Black Ice Warning

Mass says there’s one thing to watch out for with the low temperatures and frost we’ve seen around the region the last few days.

“I can’t stress enough that this is the black ice season,” Mass said.

“We often get some ice in the morning, particularly in the eastern side of Puget Sound and in the South Sound.”

He says this is due to the cooling at the earth’s surface that comes with the relatively clear skies.

“We can cool down to freezing away from the water and you can get icing, not only on your cars, but on the roads as well,” Mass says. “So, people have to be careful, particularly if it’s cold and there’s fog around. Drive carefully in the morning.”

To hear the full conversation, including more detail on why the last two weeks of November bring some of the worst weather to the Northwest and why the predicted El Niño for this winter appears to be strengthening, 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, anda popular weather blogger. You can also subscribe to podcasts of Weather with Cliff Mass shows, viaiTunes or Google Play.

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