Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Wet, windy Northwest weekend before clearer skies arrive, just in time for New Year’s Eve

Elaine Thompson
AP Photo
Mount Baker is seen some 85 miles distant behind the Space Needle under clear skies at sunset Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, from Seattle.

Rainy weather continues to dominate the forecasts in the Pacific Northwest. A healthy dose of wind enters the picture this weekend too, and it will be strong enough to cause some power outages, says KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass. But all that weather should blow through in time for a relatively dry New Year’s Eve.

“Rain today, wind tomorrow and then it improves,” said Mass on Friday morning, adding that the main cause of the churn is a warm front that started moving into the region early in the day.


“And you’ll notice that the temperatures are going to go up substantially as we get to later,” he said. “So, upper 40s is certainly possible and maybe even low 50s on Saturday.”

Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, says the winds are going to rev up as the warm front moves through. Then, as a cold front approaches the coast, it will hit its peak.

“I think the winds here in Puget Sound could start gusting up to 30-50 miles per hour, so another little wind storm. Maybe not quite as large as the others,” he said, referencing the two windstorms caused by Pacific cyclones earlier this month.


“It’s definitely going to get very, very breezy,” he said.

He says those winds are strong enough that locals should once again prepare for possible power outages.

Later in the day on Saturday, Mass says the cold front will move through.

“We’ll have some rain with that. And it looks like Sunday won’t be bad,” Mass says.


He says there’ll be some scattered showers, particularly in the mountains, but there will also be some sun breaks as skies clear and temperatures begin cooling down again.

“Now an exciting thing for the New Year’s is that it looks like a ridge of high pressure will be coming in Monday and Tuesday, “ Mass says. “So, it could actually be quite dry.”


He says temperatures may be in the upper 40s, so must folks will want to bundle up as they head out, though there’s not much precipitation to worry about; it should be ideal for outdoor viewing of fireworks.   

“It looks like people can go outside and do whatever celebrations they want to do outdoors on New Year’s Eve and probably get away with it,” Mass said.

To hear the full conversation, including Cliff’s recap of weather highlights from 2018, 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