The Pacific Northwest experiences the most varied and fascinating weather in the United States, including world-record winter snows, the strongest non-tropical storms in the nation, and shifts from desert to rain forest in a matter of miles. Local weather features dominate the meteorological landscape, from the Puget Sound convergence zone and wind surges along the Washington Coast, to gap winds through the Columbia Gorge and the "Banana Belt" of southern Oregon. The Weather of the Pacific Northwest is the first comprehensive and authoritative guide to Northwest weather that is directed to the general reader; helpful to boaters, hikers, and skiers; and valuable to expert meteorologists.
In The Weather of the Pacific Northwest, University of Washington atmospheric scientist and popular radio commentator Cliff Mass unravels the intricacies of Northwest weather, from the mundane to the mystifying. By examining our legendary floods, snowstorms, and windstorms, and a wide variety of local weather features, Mass answers such interesting questions as:
- Why does the Northwest have localized rain shadows?
- What is the origin of the hurricane force winds that often buffet the region?
- Why does the Northwest have so few thunderstorms?
- What is the origin of the Pineapple Express?
- Why do ferryboats sometimes seem to float above the water's surface?
- Why is it so hard to predict Northwest weather?
Mass brings together eyewitness accounts, historical records, and meteorological science to explain Pacific Northwest weather. He also considers possible local effects of global warming. The final chapters guide readers in interpreting the Northwest sky and in securing weather information on their own.
"During the past decade, several other books have appeared purporting to explain Pacific Northwest weather for the general public, but this is the first book to get it right [...] it succeeds in the nearly impossible task of creating a book that is appealing and understandable to the general public, while being extremely valuable and informative to the professional meteorologist and the atmospheric-science student."
– American Meteorological Society
"What used to be thought of as the quietly gray weather of the Northwest may now be recognized as a titanic struggle of the weather gods; full of avalanches, non-tropical cyclones, and weather induced mirages. Turn off the TV weather, read this book, and get in touch with the magic dance of Northwestern wind, waves, and water."
– Congressman Jay Insleeco, author of Apollo's Fire: Igniting American's Clean Energy Economy
"Great progress has been made in understanding the often challenging and always interesting weather of the Pacific Northwest. Cliff Mass has either participated in or directed much of that work. Readers will directly benefit from his knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm in this highly readable, fascinating, and useful book."
– Jeff Renner, Chief Meteorologist, KING Television, Seattle
"Cliff Mass has written an excellent, clear and comprehensive survey of weather in this region covering the origin and incidence of all major weather phenomena in the Northwest from rain to wind to snow to drought to optical illusions. Weather, as Cliff makes abundantly clear, is not just a source of griping or amusement or awe in this region, but often a life and death matter."
– David Laskin, author of Rains All the Time and The Children's Blizzard
"The Weather of The Pacific Northwest is a great tool for learning and understanding our constantly changing weather. Having grown up in Seattle and racing year round on Puget Sound it is always a struggle to figure out what the weather is going to do, and Cliff Mass does a great job of explaining what affects our weather and why it can be so diverse. Anyone wanting to understand the Pacific Northwest's weather will find this book extremely informative and a joy to read."
– Trevor Sterry, Vice Commodore Shilshole Bay Yacht Club
"The book uniquely includes solid scientific rigor in explanations that help to unravel the many mysteries and curiosities of the weather in the Pacific Northwest. It provides an unsurpassed opportunity to interested laypersons and weather enthusiasts not only to learn about the many weather events that occur in the Northwest but also to understand the meteorological principles that are at the root of their existence."
– Brad Colman, NOAA/National Weather Service
"In this richly illustrated book, Cliff Mass draws on his distinguished research career in the Puget Sound area to provide a fascinating account of the weather and climate of the region.. Covered in separate chapters are floods, snow storms and ice storms, windstorms, sea breezes, land breezes and slope winds, mountain-related phenomena, and even optical phenomena such as mirages that give the impression of 'floating ferries.'.. With this material in hand, anyone can become an informed armchair weather forecaster."
– BC Studies
"This book cleverly combines the best of four genres: a coffee-table book, an almanac of typical and extreme weather, a narrative of significant weather disasters in the Pacific Northwest United States, and a scientific discussion of the reasons for this weather.. This book could enhance high-school science and geography classes, and would be an important resource and text book for university undergrads in meteorology survey courses."
– Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
"Mass' book, The Weather of the Pacific Northwest, is terrific, with great explanations of the many phenomena that impact our region, and with clear charts, graphics, and excellent photos to match."
"The Weather of the Pacific Northwest offers a clearly written, well-illustrated, and interesting look at the varied weather of this region of the country [...] The book is written so as to be most appealing to the layperson rather than the serious academic researcher. Recommended."
"The book draws on the most current science [...] It's written in a clear, simple style aimed at the layman, but with enough sophistication and detail to satisfy serious weather aficionados. Colorful photos and graphics enliven the text and make technical concepts easier to grasp."
– Seattle Times
"These captivating facts from a local atmospheric science guru will elevate your chitchat from 'Hey look, it's raining again,' to 'Do you know the origins of the Pineapple Express?' ."
– Seattle Magazine
"The Weather of the Pacific Northwest is a handsome tome [...] And his book, like few other books ever could, hits us where we live."
– City Living
"We grouse about it. We joke about it. We gab about it. But the one thing many of us seldom do with Northwest weather is develop some knowledge about it. That no longer need be the case with the arrival of Cliff Mass' illuminating new book, The Weather of the Pacific Northwest [...] an often-fascinating examination of the whys and wheres of this region's complex weather, an appealing volume greatly enhanced by lavish color photos, diagrams and graphs [...] [and] a worthy new addition to bookshelves throughout this region, especially for residents who would rather garner some insight into Northwest weather and not just grouse about it."
– Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"[The Weather of the Pacific Northwest] may be used to teach 101-level college courses, but it's aimed at us, the weather-using public. There's a sky-spotting index for armchair forecasters, easy-to-follow charts and diagrams, and some disaster lore to help illustrate what happens when low-pressure zones and jet stream deviations collide."
– Seattle Weekly
"A fine and authoritative account of the region's remarkably varied weather."
– Oregon Historical Quarterly
1. The Extraordinary Weather of the Pacific Northwest
2. The Basics of Pacific Northwest Weather
4. Snowstorms and Ice Storms
6. Sea Breezes, Land Breezes, and Slope Winds
7. Coastal Weather Features
8. Mountain-Related Weather Phenomena
9. Weather Features of the Inland Northwest
10. Blue Holes, Flying Ferries, and Tornadoes
11. The Challenge of Pacific Northwest Weather Prediction
12. The Evolving Weather of the Pacific Northwest
13. Reading the Pacific Northwest Skies
Pacific Northwest Weather Resources
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Cliff Mass, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington and weekly guest on KUOW radio, is the preeminent authority on Northwest weather. He has published dozens of articles on Northwest weather and leads the regional development of advanced weather prediction tools.