July 4? Looking good! Friday and Saturday should be sunny and warm. Sunday–clouds and perhaps some showers…and then major improvement on July 4th… just in time for picnics, parades, and illicit incendiary activities.
But let me give you some good news, particularly since the front page of the Seattle Times on Thursday talks about the dangers of snow on our trails. It really looks that we are going to transition to true summer weather next week.
Here is the National Weather Service 6-10 day forecasts for temperature and precipitation–higher probability of warmer than normal and drier than normal weather.
I took a look at the latest snowpack report on Friday and was stunned!
As reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service the Olympic Mt. snowpack (actually the total snow water equivalent–SWE–of the current snowpack) was nearly four hundred times normal. Here is the official map (click to on it to enlarge):
It’s been a month since Steve ended my weather segment on KUOW, so I thought it was time to provide some reflections on the incident.
As I will describe below, the importance of actions extends far beyond the five minutes of weather information I provided each week … the termination itself, the interactions before it, and the troubling reaction of afterwards says a great deal about the management of and their responsiveness to their listeners.
Some of you suggested that I simply forget about the whole thing—the few minutes I had each week were a relatively small part of my life, I have my blog, and it will by easy for me to find another radio station to work with. But those five minutes were of importance to a great number of you (based on the reaction that still amazes me) and the actions of KUOW reveals so much about what KUOW has become. There are serious issues that need to be addressed, and I will discuss a number of them in this and subsequent blogs. (more)
A lot of people are asking about the summer. My college-student son Nathan told me that I should try an audio podcast on the topic….so here it is.
Bottom line: Cooler than normal for the next week or so but then we may well enjoy a normal summer from that point on.
Looking at the forecast models for the next week it is clear that there is no heat wave in store for us, and we will remain in a generally cooler than normal and cloudy pattern. It is getting to me, too. My tomatoes are still alive at this point, but I worry.
Great day today (Friday) but showers and cooler weather on Saturday. Go to the eastern slopes if you want to hike on Saturday!
I have updated the coastal radar website (see this link). Major progress—the transmitter and receiver are in, power is in, and the antenna assembly and base are being completed. They are clearly ahead of schedule and I suspect the radar will be ready for testing within a month. The National Weather Service is working hard and effectively to make this happen quickly.
A number of you have emailed me about the news stories on the a potential disruption of the solar cycle. I will do a detailed blog about this….but let me note a few facts. First, if you think the skill of weather prediction is uncertain, the skill of solar cycle prediction is worst.
You are about to experience a magical transition, from cold and damp to extraordinary warmth and sun. It will seem perfect. It will be perfect.
Well folks, you knew this spring has been bad, but the new numbers for the average March through May temperatures at Sea-Tac are in, and by any reasonable measure (average temperature, average maximum), this has been the coldest March through May at Sea-Tac since dependable records are available (1956).
Update (Sunday): Monday, things should go downhill a bit as a weather system moves towards and south of us. Subtract 5 degrees from Sunday perhaps.
Since I can’t provide the weekend forecast on KUOW today, I thought I would do it here on the blog.
The bottom line. We are in a cool, cloudy pattern, but with no big storms. Relatively cool and lots of clouds, with the best weather expected on Sunday.
OK, lets get into the details. Today we have cool, unstable air over us with lots of showers…Quite a few showers moving through, some with moderate rain. As the surface warms the air will become more unstable…with more showers. Highs only in the upper 50s. Sorry….you will need a jacket and umbrella today.
Cliff Mass, on his blog, provides an update on the attempt to regain his volunteer post of providing weekly weather updates on Steve Scher’s “Weekday” public affairs show on public radio station KUOW 94.9-FM. Excerpt:
I am still hoping these folks will change their mind. The attempts of management to do damage control has generally made things worse (the Stranger called it Weathergate). They keep on pushing a story line that both Steve Scher and I know as incorrect (that I insisted on talking about non-weather topics on the weather segment).
A petition to KUOW is found here.
Today there were several articles on the subject:
The Stranger editors have been highly supportive and asked my to write up my side of the event. Found here.
The Geek Wire had a story.
Lots of updates on the Facebook pages.
KUOW has one of their own news staff (Deborah Wang) working on a story about all this that will probably air tomorrow. Seems strange to have one of their own employees do this, with all the inherent conflict of interest, but we will see.
Update (some kind folks have created an online petition asking KUOW to reconsider: found here: http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/cliffmassonkuow )
Let me comment a bit on the whole flap about me be kicked off KUOW Weekday.
First, let me say I am stunned by the reaction and the many messages of support. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your words. I received over 400 email messages and over 250 comments on my blog, and was greatly encouraged by the Facebook page, which received hundreds of comments. The KUOW Facebook page was overwhelmed. I am still hoping to hear from the KUOW folks, but if not, I have received offers of a regular spot on a few local radio and TV stations. And, of course, there is my blog and the podcast that I plan to start.
This whole situation is really so silly and unnecessary. Let me tell you a little more than has been in the media or my previous blog post. The truth is that I had already caved into most of Katy’s and Steve’s demands. In our meeting a few years ago over this issue they told me if I talked about math education another time, they would take me off the air. I told them I thought they were completely wrong and were ill-serving KUOW listeners, but I would pull back from discussing math topics. And since that time I HAVE NOT talked about math as all of you know. I never talked about my participation in the lawsuit against Seattle Public Schools about bad math textbooks. I never talked about the State deciding to take on Common Core math standards during this legislative session. I gave in to them because I thought it was more important to serve the KUOW listener community than to fight it out with them. I talked about math on my blog and on the many times I have been invited to talk on other radio stations (e.g., KOMO radio).
For over 15 years, I have talked about Northwest weather, the weekend forecast, and education-related topics on KUOW during Friday’s morning’s Weekday program.
I have done so as my attempt at educational outreach, to go beyond the basic forecasts given on other media, providing the why behind the weather and to allow local residents a chance to appreciate the grand complexity of the weather of this beautiful area of the world. And occasionally to talk about related educational issues.
Starting today, I will not have the opportunity to do so anymore on KUOW…
And the real reasons for the termination of my segment are more ominous and disturbing. And as I will explain, it has much in common with the recent termination of Principal Martin Floe by Seattle Schools Superintendent Susan Enfield.
UPDATE: Below is KUOW host Steve Scher’s announcement on Facebook about why Mass was let go, as well as his email sent to Mass…
On Cliff Mass
With sadness I must announce that I have released Cliff Mass from his weekly weather and science segment on Weekday. For more than 15 years Cliff has been a regular volunteer, contributor presenting an informative and entertaining segment about science and weather. Over time Cliff began inserting his opinion on a wider range of issues outside of science and weather, most notably education. Although we value Cliff’s opinion I do not want the weather segment to become an opinion and views segment. Every Weekday we use a full hour to take up controversial issues which brings many voices with a variety of opinions and views.
I spoke with Cliff on several occasions about my concerns but Cliff disagreed that his science and weather segment should not include his views about other subjects. As a result I have decided to terminate Cliff’s weather and science segment. We will continue to look at other ways to involve Cliff on Weekday that will allow him to share his expertise on other issues. Below is the e-mail that I sent to Cliff discussing this relationship.
May 16, 2011
We will end our regular segments.
I respect your science and your passion for politics and education. As we have said, when we do appropriate segments, you can be a guest if you want to. Maybe even at some point you will do a whole hour with us, featuring you on weather and on math education and on training scientists etc. The weather segment has perhaps gotten too constraining for the topics at hand.
We have been doing this a long time, and I know I feel a little long in the tooth. When it is time, it is time.
We will leave it with different possibilities for the future and end our regular weather forecasts, freeing you up to do other things and us to feel comfortable with a segment designated as a weekend weather forecast.
I very much appreciate and acknowledge all the time you have given to educating the public about meteorology and atmospheric sciences. Your contribution has made our show and the region a better place. I restate that. Your contribution over the past 20 years has made our show better. Thank you.
I look forward to working with you in the future in your capacity as a science educator. We end with mutual understanding I hope.
See you at the gym.
- More than 1,000 people in the past 24 hours have joined the Put Cliff Mass Back on KUOW Facebook page